One of the most common questions asked after my article on recover from Google panda is how we can remove the date from Google Search results. Before I share the solution to this, let me explain what conditions you should, and why it’s important to remove the date from blog posts.
January 2020 update: Rather than removing dates, you could show modified date. However, do not explot this technique as Google has stopped showing dates from SERP’s for the posts which are just updating the modified time without making any changes to the content. Limit modified date is a free WordPress plugin that let you update the post but not update the modified date.
August 2019 update: Here is a free WordPress plugin to hide date from the theme.
Google has added lots of new features in Google search, like Knowledge graph, Star rating and many more. Overall, now your search engine position is not the only criteria to get traffic, but other factors also contribute to getting more clicks from search results. I have already explained in detailed about this earlier, and if you have missed it, you can read how to increase CTR from Google search.
- How to rank#one n Google Search: Matt Cutts Video
After Google Panda updates, one thing which is most common about blogs penalized by Panda is, they are showing dates in SERP description. And, this has mostly happened to old blogs, who are publishing from years. One simple reason for the same is, old dates in blog post decreased down the CTR of the post.
For example, if you search for anything like “Best WordPress plugins for SEO“, and you see results dated with 2014, 2016, and 2019. You are more likely to ignore the first two and click on the results to the latest date.
In the similar scenario, if an article is there without any date, it will get the benefit of doubt and hence more click compare to article dated 2008 & 2010. This is no rocket-science, and you can clearly notice this from your search pattern.
For example, let’s see a result for a similar search query here:
You could see results from 2009-2015, and ask yourself which result you are more likely to click on. Despite having a big name like Mashable and Six Revisions, I would prefer clicking on one with the most recent date or one with author picture (Trust factor). Now, let’s take another example:
In this example, battle to get more click is between post with no date, and post dated 2010. Which result you are more likely to click on?
How to Remove Date Stamp from Google SERP Description
Above examples are just to prove the point that removing date stamp from your search description will be helpful to get more CTR. Now, there is one big catch about removing dates is; you need to have a Website with evergreen content. If you are running a news site, where dates play an important role for good user experience, this technique may backfire on you, and you will be seen as a bad user experience. So, before you use below given solution, make sure you know what you are doing.
Use this free plugin to hide date from WordPress theme.
Another plugin which is little outdated & doesn’t work with all the theme, but as it’s free you should try it, & it’s call Date exclusion SEO. It helps you to remove the date from SERP’s. The best thing about this plugin is; it gives few option, which will be very helpful. Though it’s an outdated plugin, but I tried with WordPress 4.1+ for one of my client sites, and it worked without any issue. <Plugin link>
Once you have installed date exclusion SEO plugin, you can configure the settings under Settings > date exclusion SEO, and make few changes to make this plugin work for your blog. One of the best thing about this plugin is; you can select to remove the date from posts older than x days. This will ensure, your latest content will have dates, and you can remove the date stamp from only older posts. It’s a better idea to remove dates from last year content, and for all latest content (ex: 2013 posts), let the date remain intact.
Once you have set up this plugin, go to Google rich snippet testing tool and preview your old content. This will confirm you if the plugin is working or not.
Note: I don’t recommend hiding date, rather show last updated time.
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Personally, I don’t like the idea of removing the date from posts, as it gives a bad user-experience but at times to beat the Panda animal out of your blog, it becomes necessary.