Google drives the vast majority of content creation – how the search engine giant responds to, indexes, and places various pieces of content steers the practice as a whole. Google is in turn driven by the individual searcher: you can bet if searchers are gravitating towards a content format, it will be in a cheerfully-named algorithm update sooner or later. Throughout those recent cheerfully-named updates, one constant has emerged without showing any signs of slowdown: freshness. In fact, so much emphasis is placed on fresh, original content that it spawned a variety of must-haves in marketing: content calendars, social media campaigns, page updates and so on.
So where does that leave dated blog posts? In a prime spot for capturing reader trust and engagement.
1. Think About Trustworthiness
If you’re planning on purchasing several pallets of timber and want to know what your options are, would a lumber company’s 2015 lineup of wholesale options help you in 2017? Probably not – while some products or pricing may carry over, the overall lineup is likely fundamentally different. While both pages may deal with the same products and even the same purchasing information, their content has no time-based value for a reader searching for 2017’s exact pricing. Time is a point of trust for a searcher – the more current the information, the less steps are required to further verify it, and easy definitely sells. Updated information with a date stamp in place tells the reader that your content is either intrinsically fresh, or else it has been edited for errors with a set of fresh eyes. Either way, they can glean useful information about what you’re presenting, which encourages them to read on, share, and return for more fresh information. If, on the other hand, all you have to offer is that outdated 2015 lineup of incorrectly-priced lumber, your searchers are probably going to move their procurement search to another site.
2. Think About Brand Image
If a brand strives to deliver a continually-updated stream of media regarding their product and image, it speaks volumes for their authenticity. Just the same as commercials work through repetition and familiarity over time, consistent, current web presence casts companies in a favorable light. In particular, brands that are hoping to coax purchases of big-ticket items – particularly in B2B, where ongoing contracts reign – instill a sense of trust in potential buyers by making themselves visible through date stamps. If a business has bothered to update their blog consistently over the last few months, it bodes well that a customer with a question or complaint can get in touch without a long wait.
3. Outdated Blog Posts Aren’t Always a Bad Thing
What about outdated blog posts looking…well, outdated? Remember that customers don’t always take an A-to-B route to arrive at your website, and even if that blog post from 2015 pops up in their searching, it will lead them to more current information within your blog. This is particularly true if you take the time to “seed” old posts with links to relevant, updated ones that cover similar topics or answers – e.g. “Like what you see? Click here for access to our 2017 price lists!” placed at the bottom of a pricing post from 2015. This careful construction of a content network is supported by your date stamps – so don’t leave them out, particularly in the case of your newest, freshest posts.
Much like any other aspect of business, your potential customers are seeking accuracy – date stamps give them valuable reassurance that they’ve found it. No matter what your “best by” dates may be, placing them on your content delivers an enticing level of transparency to your customers.