Sometimes, Google shows dates next to listings in its search results. In this post, we’ll answer some commonly-asked questions webmasters have about how these dates are determined and provide some best practices to help improve their accuracy.
Google shows the date of a page when its automated systems determine that it would be relevant to do so, such as for pages that can be time-sensitive, including news content:
Google determines a date using a variety of factors, including but not limited to: any prominent date listed on the page itself or dates provided by the publisher through structured markup.
Google doesn’t depend on one single factor because all of them can be prone to issues. Publishers may not always provide a clear visible date. Sometimes, structured data may be lacking or may not be adjusted to the correct time zone. That’s why our systems look at several factors to come up with what we consider to be our best estimate of when a page was published or significantly updated.
To help Google to pick the right date, site owners and publishers should:
Google News requires clearly showing both the date and the time that content was published or updated. Structured data alone is not enough, though it is recommended to use in addition to a visible date and time. Date and time should be positioned between the headline and the article text. For more guidance, also see our help page about article dates.
If an article has been substantially changed, it can make sense to give it a fresh date and time. However, don't artificially freshen a story without adding significant information or some other compelling reason for the freshening. Also, do not create a very slightly updated story from one previously published, then delete the old story and redirect to the new one. That's against our article URLs guidelines.
In addition to the most important requirements listed above, here are additional best practices to help Google determine the best page to consider showing for a web page:
We hope these guidelines help to make it easier to specify the right date on your website's pages! For questions or comments on this, or other structured data topics, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forums.