Question - Dates & Traffic

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  1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years ago

    I'm not sure if this is the right forum category - but does anyone know how various dates on our hubs affect Google traffic?  I've noticed during several recent searches that some high-ranking results do not show the publication date.  There are also no comments sections on some of these pieces, or in some cases there don't appear to be dated comments.  Do dates on hubs hurt our rankings if the dates make even a very good, evergreen hub look old?

    1. paradigmsearch profile image60
      paradigmsearchposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      The bad news, it's a fairly universal opinion that Google is big on freshness.

      The good news, I am fairly certain HP only shows the latest update date.

      1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
        Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        Well, that means we all need to update every single hub regularly. Difficult enough with 100 or so hubs, but quite a task for those with 1,000. Also, according to another thread, each time we update, the hub goes through QAP.  So if we suffer spinning arrow delays, we lose time, too.  Or else I'm not interpreting this correctly.

        1. paradigmsearch profile image60
          paradigmsearchposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Unless things have changed, HP does not slap the noindex tag on hubs just being checked for editing. So let it spin away... big_smile

      2. Marisa Wright profile image87
        Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        I think the "freshness" idea is much misunderstood.

        Keeping things fresh is not about keeping individual articles fresh, it's about keeping your sub-domain fresh.

        If freshness related to individual articles, then news sites like Huffington Post would be in a whole lotta trouble, because they don't go back and update the thousands and thousands of articles on yesterday's news, do they?

        1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
          Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          Marisa - sites like the Huffington Post rely on regular readership (same with The Onion, any daily newspaper that's going digital, etc.) - so they are perpetually 'fresh' in terms of their daily news.

          But those of us who write evergreen content (not daily news or commentary) have a different issue.  People may indeed click on "old" articles Huffington has, but the views might be generated from inner links.  And of course any major outlet already has page rank love that we can't compete with.

          However, if Google shuffles links on evergreen topic searches according to freshness (someone searches on how to care for wooden lawn furniture, or something), then articles on HubPages will be shoved to lower ranks if similar results appear 'fresher' due to dates.

          Huffington readers are going to log in regularly, no matter what.  Our views do not come from people logging in every day to see what Marcy or Marisa have written, they come from someone finding our content through search engines.  And the searches are based on keywords in individual articles, not the entire subdomain.  So I don't see how a fresh 'subdomain' can even be determined or factored in.

          1. WryLilt profile image89
            WryLiltposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            ^What Marisa said. And how often do you see the results in Google listed by date? I rarely, if ever, find the newest ones listed first. If I want recent information I have to change the search tool to find results crawled in the last week or month.

          2. Marisa Wright profile image87
            Marisa Wrightposted 10 years agoin reply to this

            So you're saying that if you search for something, Huffington Post articles don't  rank well, and they rely entirely on their regular readership?   I think you'll find Huffington Post ranks pretty well, which means Google likes their site in spite of having a preponderance of old material on there.  The fact that they are constantly adding new posts is enough to give them "freshness".

            1. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
              Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years agoin reply to this

              I agree that Huffington has readership - and I just pointed out they are perpetually 'fresh.'  We are not Huffington Post, or anywhere near it.  Google knows sites such as this have followers - they're going to go to Huffington, or The Onion, or whatever.

              We are (supposedly) ranked as subdomains, not through the entire site (I am not sure I agree that is the case).  So if our subdomains look 'old,' and we do not have a broad readership that regularly drives traffic (which Google would use to ride the coattails for ad views), old dates on hubs, even if they're 'old' by just a few months, could harm us perhaps?

              1. Cardisa profile image89
                Cardisaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                My two cents.

                I don't think Google gives priority to newer content or we would be in a lot more trouble. The older the hub gets the more traffic it gets and the better it ranks. I think Google pushes you forward based on the amount of searches which come in calculated by the amount of information which exists for that topic. So regardless of how "old" your content seems it will be ranked based on those factors and not its 'newness' or freshness

                Google itself will tell you that sites which have proven to be consistent in publishing articles and have been around longer are more favored than new sites. So someone on HP here for 6 years has a better chance of ranking higher than someone here 6 months to a year. The articles you wrote 2-3 years ago have a better chance of ranking higher than the ones published 6 months ago. So I don't think dates on hubs affect them negatively in any way.

                1. Susana S profile image92
                  Susana Sposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                  What you've said is mostly correct when talking about evergreen phrases. But here's a question for you.....

                  How do you think the hubs on 3D TV technology that I wrote in 2009/2010 are performing in Google's search results now?

                  1. Cardisa profile image89
                    Cardisaposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    Hubs that re time sensitive won't rank well when expired. I assumed that Marcy was referring to date stamp and not the type of article. For instance a hub published three years ago with comments dating back then. Marcy knows that time sensitive hubs wont rank well after a while so I never expected her to ask about that.

                  2. wilderness profile image95
                    wildernessposted 10 years agoin reply to this

                    Good question.  I wrote on the same thing about 18 months ago and since then have 5500 views, or 300 per month.  This month, however, it's only 50 views - it's steadily falling.  I expect to delete the hub eventually, but for now that TV (its a review hub) is still for sale and I still hope to repeat the $100 commission from selling one.  That one sale made writing the hub worthwhile even though it is definitely not evergreen.

                    Something like this is going to have a shelf life no matter how much you edit it.  Eventually that subject will die and the hub will go with it.

    2. moonlake profile image84
      moonlakeposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I was checking some hubs today on Google search and noticed they are showing the date I updated them. Do you think they need to be updated by the month? That would be lots of work. I find so many things I'm looking for and the number one rating website may be 2009 way outdated but Google doesn't seem to mind.

    3. Susana S profile image92
      Susana Sposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I've done quite a bit of research on this (freshness) and my conclusion is that is really depends on the query. Some queries have up to 8 "fresh" results on Google's first page:

      e.g. try a search for "google panda" - see how many results it has from the last 6 months? There are a lot right?

      So if you decided to write an article focused on the phrase "Google panda" your article would be severely affected by the freshness algo. (Personally, I would completely avoid trying to rank for a phrase that returns so many fresh results, but that's just me).

      Then again if you're going for something truly evergreen such as "how to tie a tie" freshness is unlikely to affect you. If you do a search for that phrase you'll see at most 2 out of the 10 webpages listed are "fresh" and 8 have age/authority. This is the kind of phrase I'd be looking to write on on HP simply because of longevity.

      So based on that info, I would suggest that before writing a hub people type the main keyword they're planning to use into google search to see how many fresh results are returned and proceed accordingly smile

      I personally do not think having the date next to the title makes searchers more likely to click on the result *for an evergreen article*. That has more to do with the title construction and how enticing the summary is.

      I hope that makes sense! It's very early where I am and I haven't had a cup of tea yet smile

      1. WryLilt profile image89
        WryLiltposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        +1, makes sense to me!

        1. Susana S profile image92
          Susana Sposted 10 years agoin reply to this

          That's good to know. I had a feeling it was gobbledegook!

  2. janshares profile image95
    jansharesposted 10 years ago

    I learned about this very recently, Marcy, as I was inadvertantly updating hubs just to improve them. I read in a forum (or with WryLilt's helpful forum) that Google ranks current, fresher hubs higher than older ones. So, as a result of working on all my hubs, the latest update dates are April and May 2013. Easy for me since I only have 41 hubs. It has improved traffic.

  3. Marie Gail profile image76
    Marie Gailposted 10 years ago

    Thanks for the good info, fellow Hubbers! I just came back today after a few months pursuing other writing ventures and spent quite a bit of time "dusting off" old Hubs. Sounds like this has been effective for others, and I noticed that it only took a couple of hours for one of those older Hubs that I dusted off to become "featured." Here's to success!

  4. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years ago

    I updated everything in February and March, and I guess it was helpful - but it will be tiresome to do every single hub every month or two.

  5. WryLilt profile image89
    WryLiltposted 10 years ago

    Yes, Google likes "Fresh content". It gives it a boost - that's why you'll see a lot of news site content at the top of Google when a newsworthy event happens.

    However Google also likes aged content, that has been there awhile. Some of the reasons include that it is in more places, has more backlinks etc. You may have noticed this when you searched a topic and noticed that the first result is from a forum topic back in 2002.

    You don't NEED to update your hubs (unless you think of something to add later, or realise you need to update some info). Sometimes it can help, sometimes it can make things worse - especially if you change certain things (like titles) that were actually helping Google send you traffic.

    There is another "content freshener" that many of you seem to be forgetting. Comments. Google crawls them to, and that's fresh content.

  6. yarddog2k profile image60
    yarddog2kposted 10 years ago

    It's too bad we have no way of putting a RSS news-feed of some kind in our hubs. As these RSS feeds update daily and weekly, we would have fresh content on our hubs automatically.

    1. WryLilt profile image89
      WryLiltposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      And also generate plenty of duplicate content smile Hubpages got rid of them.

      1. relache profile image71
        relacheposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        RSS feeds were also an awesome way to suddenly find your Hub marked with the Red Skull of Violation and unpublished because something in the RSS feed was triggering that filter.

  7. ChitrangadaSharan profile image92
    ChitrangadaSharanposted 10 years ago

    I do keep on updating my hubs, as I notice an increase in traffic after that. And I have noticed, the updated date only appears in the searches.
    Thanks for starting the discussion Marcy Goodfleisch, as all the inputs are so informative.

  8. ologsinquito profile image84
    ologsinquitoposted 10 years ago


    I seem to notice a surge in outside traffic to a lot of my hubs each time I publish a new hub. Is this coincidence or is it related to the freshness factor?

  9. Susana S profile image92
    Susana Sposted 10 years ago

    Marcy - Here's the info Google released just after the first freshness update which tells you exactly what it's about. Enjoy smile … earch.html

  10. psycheskinner profile image80
    psycheskinnerposted 10 years ago

    All Marisa is saying is that to rank well in google you need to have some fresh articles in the mix.  You don't need to constantly "freshen" the entire subdomain.

  11. ologsinquito profile image84
    ologsinquitoposted 10 years ago

    Tnanks psycheskinner.

  12. DzyMsLizzy profile image87
    DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years ago

    HOWever... ...the "freshness" factor is a moot point, given the "QAP/pending/spinning arrow" slap that HP itself has imposed.

    I have repeatedly found that a hub has been crawled during that time period, while it is still fresh.

    Therefore, the "Big G" no-index penalty has already been assessed, and the hub sent to the 'ignore' bin on Google! Bu the time days or weeks have passed and "G" re-crawls the article, it is no longer 'fresh!' 
    **Shaking my head in frustration.**

    So, we are on the one hand told that 'freshness' counts, and on the other, prevented from having our freshest works shown!  This is a massive contradiction, and very counter-productive for all concerned, including HP itself, which could surely make more income if it did not essentially 'hide' new hubs from Google's ranking bots. 

    This is just not right, and there must be a better way found to insure quality content.  As has been suggested many, many times by others who have been around HP far longer than I, perhaps the QAP slap should apply only to newbies, until such time as they prove themselves to be writing quality content, while already established Hubbers in good standing on the site should be exempted from this process until and unless their ranking/quality shows a drop.

  13. Bedbugabscond profile image95
    Bedbugabscondposted 10 years ago

    I always thought that adding new content, new hubs, was the best way to keep the freshness. Not just adding a new hub but consistently. I see some Hubbers do quite well that have stopped adding new content and just update old stuff. Either way, I am very confused about this topic.

  14. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image84
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 10 years ago

    I was questioning whether Google downgrades articles based on (older) dates, not whether readers click on articles whether there's a date or not.

    1. Susana S profile image92
      Susana Sposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Sorry Marcy, I added that bit in because I wasn't totally clear about what you were asking. When it comes to how Google treats your articles in the search results, it completely depends on the phrase/s that the article is optimised for (the main phrase in your title).

      If you write a page about the "10 best DSLR cameras" it will be downgraded by Google as it ages because it will become less relevant to searchers over time. Newer, hotter models of camera are always coming onto the market, so what's best today will not be best next year. The first result in Google for that phrase is a page dated 3rd May 2013.

      Compare that to a page about "features to look for in a DSLR camera". That phrase will have much more longevity (although it's not truly evergreen in my book). A quick look at the search results bears that out - the 1st result is from 2006.

      [bares/bears? lol - I haven't a clue!]

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image87
        DzyMsLizzyposted 10 years agoin reply to this

        "bears"... wink

  15. yupperclub profile image59
    yupperclubposted 10 years ago

    Either way, I would not expect Google traffic to be immediate...if there is no publish date than your hub has not been published yet.  I believe only FEATURED hubs are presented to Google for traffic.  There are two communities here.  Hubpages internal and external.  External would include Google traffic.  Then there is ranking in Google to consider.  There's a lot of competition for Google search just think about that, too.  Internal would be the Hubpages community (other hubbers).


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