One of the criticisms about Google’s answer boxes is that it is hard to tell just how recent, or not, the information presented in the answer boxes is. Well, Google seems to be looking at a way to alleviate these concerns by now showing the date attributed to the content shown in the answer box.
Some answer boxes are now displaying the date the content was published at the end of the content in the answer box to show how timely the information presented is. Especially on topics that are constantly changing, this means that a searcher can perhaps get a better idea of how accurate the information is based upon the date it was published.
If Google starts favoring content for answer boxes that is more recent, or that has attached to it, this can mean that many publishers to have gone the route of removing dates from the content might want to rethink their strategy.
It has become popular over the last couple of years where publishers choose to remove the dates from their content rather than have visitors know how old is. The idea is that evergreen content performs better and content without dates will seem more recent to a visitor. But if Google makes this change and you want your content in answer boxes, then putting back your date would be a good start – however it is unclear if there is a cut off date that Google considers “too old” to display in an answer box.
The dates are showing up in both desktop and mobile results.
This is a good change, and I know many would be happy to see this change on even more answer box content. I found it showing up on multiple queries, all query types that could be subjective or changing. Many answer boxes stating information that is not likely to change – such as the definition of a word or a simplistic “what is <insert something common>” all gave answer boxes without dates.
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