To Date or Not to Date: Articles with Dates, No Dates, and Constantly Updated Dates

Reading the latest published articles gives readers the peace of mind that the information is current. It’s particularly true when reading the news and tutorial articles of platforms that change constantly. However, “evergreen” articles like history, scientific, how-to, and DIY stuff don’t really need to be the most recent, even though it would be nice to have.

In contrary, having no date on an article creates doubt in readers, as they need to make sure that the information is valid and still applies today. Another option is having articles’ dates constantly updated, which is a solution to old articles that have been pushed to the bottom. Updated dates would build readers’ trust and might even attract new search engine crawlers.

So, what’s the best way to date your articles? With publish dates, no dates, or dates that are updated after each update? In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of each option so that you can make an informed decision.

With publish dates.

Types of articles: any.

The most obvious benefit of articles with publish dates is giving readers a peace of mind that the content is still relevant today. Articles about SEO published two or three years ago, for instance, might not be relevant anymore today, as search engine algorithms change from time to time.

Google Fred, for example, was introduced in March 2017, to target low-value sites. Thus, any SEO articles written in December 2016 might not include this change. Reading the article might as well as informative as reading a Happy Meal package.

However, old articles with publish dates can be easily distinguished and will be pushed back at the bottom. This also means search engines will likely place the article at the bottom of a search result page. Most articles’ value decreases over time.

With no dates.

Types of articles: evergreen, like history, scientific, DIY, and how-to.

For evergreen articles whose value wouldn’t change in decades, no dates would be fine. For instance, articles on Candy History don’t use any dates. It’s a good choice as candy categories, types, history, and health risks aren’t likely to change in the next few decades.

Wiki articles, like WikiHow and eHow, also don’t need any dates either, for obvious reasons. Wiki readers wouldn’t be turned off by having no dates.

However, when non-evergreen articles are published with no dates, some picky readers would assume that the information is no longer valid. Other readers would use Google advanced search options to find out whether the article is still within “acceptable” publish date range.

With constantly updated dates.

Types of articles: any.

Blog.Almighty.Press, Buffer Blog, and Backlinko Blog use a plugin that records update dates on each article. This provides both credibility and a peace of mind to readers that the information is current, valid, and still relevant. Readers no longer need to guess or assume on when the article was first published.

However, there are arguments whether this would help to increase Google rank. Most likely, it wouldn’t. So, if you’re a publisher aiming at increasing search rank, it wouldn’t work. Constantly updating dates only benefits human readers.

While giving dates or no dates on articles is a preference, for Permalink, it would be better to remain open without dates. This way, when, in the future, you decide to use a plugin to constantly change the update dates, the Permalink can still be used. Therefore, the structure of the site would remain intact, and you wouldn’t lose any incoming links.

In conclusion, there are pros and cons surrounding the debate on “to date or not to date” issue. You can choose the most appropriate choice based on the type of articles published. Stay updated on search engine algorithm changes, so your site traffic remains high or even higher. Staying on top of the game, including the latest publish date plugin, is key to content marketing success.

When our blog decided to show updated post dates and the article read time, we had to use two different plugins and hack away at our WordPress functions to get things looking right. This job would be quite a pain for anyone without a decent understanding of how WordPress works. So we decided to create our own plugin with more versatile display options and a simple interface.

You can download Evergreen Date Revisor here completely FREE.



Jennifer Xue is an award-winning author, columnist, and serial entrepreneur. She has published 2,000 articles and 100 e-books/reports with proven record in brand awareness, lead generation, and revenue increase. She can be reached at Follow her Twitter @jenxuewrites

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