Google and other search engines may feature dates for your site in search engine results pages – especially if it is time-sensitive content, including news articles and pages where it really makes sense. The date featured in the SERP could either be the published date or the last updated date of the page, and it would look something like this:
Depending on how recent (or fresh) your content is as well as a whole range of other factors including search intent – the presence of dates in SERPs can either increase or decrease the CTR to your site.
How Google Picks the Date?
We’ve received many tickets on our support forum from our users, where search engines show the published date instead of the last modified date. While the published date could be years back for a recently modified article and featuring these old dates can give the visitors an impression that the article was outdated and worst could be losing the traffic.
Google Search Central recommends showing a clear date inside the content and using structured data to help search engines pick the right date.
While Rank Math adds the structured data with the
dateModified properties in the correct format as recommended by Google, we request you to rely on your theme developer for any improvements with respect to the visible date.
However, adding a clear date and using structured data are only recommendations and Google hasn’t given a definitive, single answer for how they pick a date. There are several methods Google uses to obtain this data and potentially display it in search results.
Therefore, in some cases – it can make sense to proactively take steps to remove the data from SERPs from your website.
Removing Dates from SERPs
Since there are two recommendations (structured data and visible date) from Google to show the right date in the SERPs, we will show you examples from our Rank Math website that would help you understand how you can remove dates from SERPs.
1 Visible Date Inside the Content
Blog posts from our Rank Math blog are presented with a clearly visible date, and even the structured data is added with the appropriate date Schema.
You can see from the below image that our search engine results are featuring date for blog posts.
You could notice that the blog post mentions the last updated date while the SERP displays the published date. However, it is the search engine that decides to display the published date or the modified date, and it is a completely different topic for discussion.
2 No Visible Date Inside the Content
If you’ve gone through our knowledgebase articles, you wouldn’t notice any visible date inside the content.
When we checked our search results, we cannot see any dates being picked by the search engine, despite the article being marked up with the appropriate date Schema.
Comparing the Results
In both these cases, we added structured data with
dateModified Schema, and we could interpret that search engines display dates when they’re clearly visible inside the content. Hence to completely remove the date from SERP, we request you to get in touch with your theme provider.
How Long Does It Take for Search Engine to Update the SERPs?
Google usually takes a week or two to update the SERPs, but if it takes longer, then it’s usual and nothing to be worried about. It takes a while for search engines to completely crawl your website, depending upon your website’s size, crawl budget, and any underlying SEO issues affecting the crawlers to reach your pages. Hence, if you’ve made the changes to exclude dates from SERPs, we request you to wait patiently for the changes to reflect.
Can an SEO Plugin Add/Remove Dates from SERPs?
As you might be aware by now, Google picks and shows the dates that they see in the content itself. And this something an SEO plugin cannot control. Therefore it is not possible for Rank Math (or any other SEO plugin) to add or remove dates from search engine results pages for your website.
And, that’s it! If you have absolutely any questions about removing dates from SERPs – feel free to reach out to our support team, we’re always more than happy to help.