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Publish date on updated articles

Ask Yoast: Publish date on updated articles

Keeping your articles up to date is always a good idea, as it shows to your readers that your site offers current and relevant information. Furthermore, search engines will pick up on changes to your articles, and consider your site alive and up to date. That’s never a bad thing, right?

It’s especially important that you keep your cornerstone content articles up to date, but many other pages will benefit from updating as well. One question remains, though: what to do with the publish date? You may worry that people don’t want to read a blog post that was published five years ago, even if the content is evergreen or if you updated it just last week. Want to know how we handle the publish date on updated articles at Yoast? Let’s check this week’s question!

Kees van den Berg emailed us saying,

We’re often advised to update old articles. What to do with the publish date? Republish it on a new date? Or add a note that it has been updated?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

 

What to do with the publish date on updated articles

“Now we do this all the time on Yoast.com, we go through our old content, and we update as necessary. If we completely rewrite the article or if a major part of the article is new, then we actually publish on a new date.

If only a tiny portion of the article changes, then we add a note to the article that we’ve updated it and we keep the old date. It’s that simple… so a bit of both. Good luck.”

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33 Responses to Ask Yoast: Publish date on updated articles

  1. Grandecor
    Grandecor  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for the article, it was useful for us, as we’ve never changed the publishing date, no matter how big was the update of the article.

    Btw, we’ve heard of people who are only pressing the Update button without doing any changes within the content or publish date. We don’t think that would work in the eyes of Google, would it?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      You’re right, that wouldn’t work! Better invest time in some real updates.

  2. Vakantiehuis
    Vakantiehuis  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for the tip. It seems that it’s always the logical answer you expect it to be ;-)

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      It does, right ;-)

  3. Mircea G.
    Mircea G.  • 4 months ago

    In the past I did some changes to my articles but I didn’t update publish date…. I just put an updated note. Thanks for the tips.

  4. Nicecreame Media
    Nicecreame Media  • 4 months ago

    Nice guideline, thank you :)

  5. VS Chaitanya
    VS Chaitanya  • 4 months ago

    Most of the Bloggers change the Publish Date whenever they update the article. This technique worked previously and the ranking went up. Do this now and you will lose the ranking. It is better to use a new Publish date only when a major part of the article is rewritten.b

    • Joost de Valk

      I would agree with only doing this for slightly larger updates, but I don’t think you’ll ever lose your ranking over changing a date :)

  6. Naziman Azlye
    Naziman Azlye  • 4 months ago

    Thanks, Yoast. For now, I’m using the published date as the updated date. So when I have to change something in the article, the date also change.

    But still, I put some note what has changed.

  7. Karim Toulba
    Karim Toulba  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for sharing! I used to update the publish date in WordPress everytime I’m making a change in the article text. In fact, this helps increasing pageviews for that updated article.

    Changing the Publish Date was a concern for me, until I read an Brian Dean’s article about how this little tip actually works!

    Thanks again for shedding the lights on this. I’m a big fan of Yoast SEO and it helps me very well on having a great on-page optimization. It’s great to see it’s always up to date like this.

    All the best!

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      Thanks Karim!

  8. Liton Biswas
    Liton Biswas  • 4 months ago

    Hey Joost,
    Your article is very useful to me as I am updating my old blog post.

    Although I changed major portion of some of my articles, I didn’t update publish date. I just put a note with the updated date.

    From now, if I change mojor portion of a article, I’ll change its publish date too.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      Glad to help, Liton!

  9. Basit Ansari
    Basit Ansari  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for sharing wonderful article with us. I love your Yoast Plugin.

    Regards,
    Basit Ansari

  10. Roberta Lan
    Roberta Lan  • 4 months ago

    That’s what I do as well, even though I’d like to know what search engines understand from it and which case would bring me the best result.

    Will an old article (a cornerstone one) with a new date perform worse on results just for being “new” or this is actually better (new = fresh)? Or it simply doesn’t matter at all?

    • Joost de Valk

      It doesn’t change the rankings directly, only the perception of people clicking on the link and thus the number of people who click on it.

  11. Jimmy M
    Jimmy M  • 4 months ago

    I think we should not republish articles on a new date. this may affect the ranking for a while. Am i wrong ?

    • Kate
      Kate  • 4 months ago

      I read that Google ranks “fresher” articles higher so maybe it helps?

      • Joost de Valk

        As I said above, I don’t think it changes the ranking directly, it does change the perception of people seeing and / or clicking on the result. This influences the click-through rate, which might influence the ranking indirectly.

  12. Digember
    Digember  • 4 months ago

    Thanks. I will try this strategy on my older blog posts. Actually, I write about a lot on Windows guide and Windows is updated frequently so I can get benefit from this date update strategy.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      Great, good luck!

  13. Steve
    Steve  • 4 months ago

    This has really helped a lot ,but on my site google often index my contents with a wrong time.I.e a post published 2hours ago would appear 3days ago on google.
    What do I do?

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      Hi Steve, Did you really change the publish date in that case? Or did you just click the ‘Update’ button?

  14. DEM OSGB
    DEM OSGB  • 4 months ago

    Hey Joost!

    I was just asking myself this question a few weeks ago. It’s good to keep your articles up to date but I was wondering about the update date on the actual article page.

    You’ve answered some of my questions.

    Thank you so much!

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      You’re welcome!

  15. Adithya Shetty
    Adithya Shetty  • 4 months ago

    Hi Joost,
    I’ve been doing the same for years but wondered whether it’s a good practice or not!
    Thanks for the video!

  16. John
    John  • 4 months ago

    Hey Joost, thanks for answering that one. I’ve been wondering about that, I have a couple of blogs that I’ve just updated some content on so this is relevant.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      Happy to provide you with an answer, John!

  17. Rosy
    Rosy  • 4 months ago

    hi,
    Yoast is my fav plugin for seo, i am using this plugin in my all WordPress sites

  18. Soneye Saheed
    Soneye Saheed  • 4 months ago

    Whenever I update my posts, I republish it with a new date. I believe it increases CTR especially for evergreen contents. Readers want to read new and latest version of contents.

    Thanks for this update.

    • Willemien Hallebeek
      Willemien Hallebeek  • 4 months ago

      We agree, Soneye!

  19. Freddy G. Cabrera
    Freddy G. Cabrera  • 4 months ago

    Hey Joost!

    I was just asking myself this question a few weeks ago. It’s good to keep your articles up to date but I was wondering about the update date on the actual article page.

    You’ve answered some of my questions.

    Thank you so much!

    Best regards! :D

  20. niemiecki
    niemiecki  • 4 months ago

    This is a interesting article. You put really very helpful information. Thanks!


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