Where are the cool things?
When I go to the supermarket, I usually shop in the suburbs, not in the aisles. This is because supermarkets are usually organized in the same way, with fresh food – meat, fish, agricultural products, dairy products – on the outer walls. I go to the center of the store when I want canned goods that will support my family after a zombie apocalypse.
However, when searching for books, I found that this pattern of separation does not exist between most blog content, whether for brands or publishers. When I want to know more about a topic, I find the following randomly:
- Timestamped messages that provide timely information
- Post date and time with updates to ensure updates
- Timestamped messages that provide timeless information
- Undated messages that provide timely or timeless information
- Timestamp messages containing outdated information
- Undated messages containing outdated information
- The comparative utility of these messages is closely related to the order in which I listed them. Let’s take a look at each category to understand why.
- Timestamp report with timely information
This is the gold standard. If your post has a timestamp for 2020 or 2019, I know it’s new content. The only downside is that a new timestamp doesn’t tell me much about your search patterns. Sometimes I find links to “recent studies” from 2012 that have lost their usefulness (even well-known publications are responsible for this). I was happy to see that when they produce content for the Forbes forums, they not only mark posts over time but that each study cited is no more than three years old.
Publication standards vary, but a recent timestamp is the best first step in identifying relevant, high-quality content.
- Date and time settings with updates to ensure updates
Of course, if you have a blog that has been around for some time, not all content will be from recent release dates. So, how do you keep it relevant? The best way is to update your posts from time to time and include a timestamp of the most recent update, in addition to the original timestamp.
The most experienced publishers know that most of the blog traffic comes from older posts, so if you can keep it up to date, your visitors and Google will reward you for it.
Make sure to read all of your posts at least once a year, at least the ones that visitors received to read and update the content.
- Date and time messages with timeless information
It is a little complicated. If the post has a recent timestamp, I know it’s okay to use it. But if I have an old timestamp, I have to read the article to determine if it’s relevant enough that I can still use it because it’s high-level trends that don’t change as often, historical research, or general wisdom Of marketing.
Even if your information is really timeless, it’s still a good idea to add a regularly updated timestamp. Tell me that you recently researched the relevance of your content and I don’t have to do it for you.
- Updated posts with current or timeless information
This type of content can be useful, but sometimes it is not worth it. If your post doesn’t have a date, I have no idea when you wrote it, so I have to find out for myself if it is still current or relevant to me. I can tell by the context if it is recent (for example, if you find out that Trump is president, I know that it is more recent than if you say that Obama is president).
I can click on a link and it points to an interesting study in 2020. Pay for the dirt! Or I can click on a link with a 404 error because the outdated search that the post is linked to is no longer online. Frustrating.
- Post with date and time with outdated information
The bad news is that I cannot use outdated information. The good news is that you won’t waste my time if you immediately tell me with a 2011 timestamp.
- Undated messages with outdated information
This man is the worst of all. I need to examine your post, click on external links, check the timestamps for comments, or do other detective work to determine if your content is useless to me. Don’t let me check your source code or the Wayback Machine to see when you posted a message.
Trusted timestamps and content
What is the first thing you do to get back to the supermarket metaphor? You look for the “best before” date.
‘Expiration’ or ‘sale to’ dates are a relatively new phenomenon that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. You may be surprised to learn that the USDA in the United States does not require that foods have an expiration date, except in the case of baby food. However, food manufacturers add these labels to their products.
To build trust.
The survey showed that consumers see expiration dates as indicators of quality. And it is not so difficult to see the contents of the timestamp in the same light.
Let’s face it, why do so many brands and publishers refuse to record the date and time of their posts? In the early days of blogs, all content had a timestamp. It wouldn’t be a blog if the posts weren’t clearly dated and listed in reverse chronological order.
At one point, someone got smart and said, “You know what? Visitors jump when they see old content, and Google doesn’t like it either. So, let’s get the dates and nobody will know.”
It can be smart, but it can also be misleading. Your visitors and buyers may be wondering what is still cheating on you.
When you invest your time and creativity in creating quality content, it is worth the relatively small extra effort to keep up to date and share status with visitors. They will trust you even more for that.