Last month I wrote an article on how to remove dates from the search engine, and I explained how it decreased CTR. In that article, I focused more on CTR than search engine ranking. Also, in my earlier article on how to recover from Google Panda, I mentioned that removing date’s will have a positive impact on your ranking, and your ranking will improve. This created lots of buzz in the blogosphere, and I thought of doing a test with this on ShoutMeLoud. So last week, I put the dates back on my blog posts to see if it have any negative impact on my blog traffic. In this case study, I will show how my blog traffic got influenced with little change, and what could be the possible solutions.
How adding dates on blog posts affected my Keyword Ranking:
Last week, I added the dates back on ShoutMeLoud blog posts, as obviously it gives a good user-experience. If you know, ShoutMeLoud is a 5-year-old blog, and I have posts dated from 2008. From a searcher point of view, I would definitely prefer to read a post which is published recently, and when searching I will click links which are either dated recently or have no dates at all (Benefit of doubt).
When I added the dates back on my blog posts, my blog traffic dropped by almost 40%. On an average, I get 10000 PV every day, but after adding dates, it went to all time low as 5,757. Right now, I’m using SEMRUSH to track my keyword ranking, and I could see a drop of almost 101 keywords, and highly any improvement on any keyword. I continued this test for four days, and my traffic keep sulking down. Here is a screenshot of the blog stats:
My keyword tracking tool showed me what went wrong after adding date stamps to blog posts. So, after running this test, I again removed the dates, and if you would notice in above graph, my traffic is coming back, and here you could see improvement in keyword ranking after removing the date stamp:
Orange bracket shows the drop in keyword ranking after adding dates back, and last column shows current ranking. Right now, all keyword ranking is improving, and I’m seeing the increment in traffic with each passing day.
Conclusion of this case study:
I’m not going to debate on user -experience effect of adding/removing dates, as I already mentioned: Dates give a good user-experience, but at the same time, if you show dates in Google SERP’s, it negatively impact your keyword ranking and your blog traffic.
A good idea is to show dates to your user but don’t show it to search engines.
- Use image based dates.
- Google Page Rank 3 for a site with no content (Case-study)
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Do let me know if you are showing dates or not? What method are you using to show dates to the user and hide it from search engines? If you find this case-study interesting, do consider sharing it on Facebook and Google Plus.