For my next trick, I'll be getting obsessed about Freshness! I'm seeing this thread already as the cousin to my 301 Redirect in the Present Day thread, where I posed some questions and then eventually ran the experiment myself for all to see. The Problem If you read the forum and my case study regularly, you'll have seen me saying that in the past 3 months Google has been pushing more than several significant updates. I kept commenting that I was slipping in commercial rankings while gaining more long tails. The Blame I was attributing that to them giving more weight to age, which is what I originally saw, but I was only looking at the top 10. But as I kept looking further into the top 20 I realized that a huge part of it could have been a recalculation of Fresh Rank. Newer posts from last year and this year are beating me from two years ago with nearly no links and poor sitewide metrics. For some odd reason, I simply never realized commercial intent queries like "Best Blank" and "Blank Reviews" where Queries That Deserve Freshness. I'm traditionally an information site guy so I never paid that much attention. The Question So last night I went on a several hour long journey to read everything I could about this topic to make sure I'm missing nothing, all the way down to patent snippets and all the way up to forums and bloggers. I learned nothing new, so I narrowed my search to specifically what I'm thinking about doing for my site. This is when I found about 4 case studies, all with various problems that rendered them completely (retarded) useless. All of these case studies were simply about "What happens if I do something to my publish date?" Published Date to Updated Date So there was one by a Moz contributor who changed his publish dates to "Last Updated" dates. Let me state here that nobody used Schema markup or anything else. He saw positive results but he only did it to I think 16 posts that weren't getting much traffic. Some of them got up to 200% boosts in traffic. Yaaay, expect when you read the comments he reveals that he also bumped all the posts back onto the homepage, and it was the remaining 5 or 8 or whatever that got the biggest boost. Worthless. Published Date to Current Date Then there was a guy who accidentally left the "current date" as a placeholder when uploading a site redesign and saw a huge boost. This is already muddy since the site was redesigned too. But he changed it back and nearly immediately saw a dip right back to normal levels. So he changed the date back to the current date and got a boost again, then back to normal. The problem here was we're talking about the difference between 100 visits a day sitewide to 200 and back. I think it the results were legit, but there's not much statistical confidence. No Date to Published Date Another guy never had dates on his articles, and he added them and tanked his traffic by 40%. That's all the data we got out of it. But it's an important point that dates can hurt you where freshness is demanded. Other Random Reports AirBNB changes their listing dates to the current date every time Google crawls them, so Google thinks it's fresh each time. Google claims that they'll take the date snippets away from sites abusing it, and that you can't "trick" Google, but I'd say that's a crock of shite at this point. I think they're capable of doing it and will do it, but I don't think they've done it yet. But I've also not tested or searched for examples of people getting this penalty. The Proposal My proposed questions to you guys are: Should I change my published date to an updated date site wide except on the archive pages? I'm thinking of only having the updated date (and marked as such), but I toyed with the idea of having published and updated on there. But I want Google to recognize my freshness. Part of the problem is that all of my commercial pages were just HEAVILY updated a month or two ago, as well as a majority of my blog posts. Google didn't recognize it and they still list my publish date in the snippets in the SERPs. I'm thinking of switching to Updated and possibly even adding the Schema for it on there. I do have meta properties for Published Time, Modified Time, and Updated Time in there, but I read John Mueller saying that Google ignores and has never used those. This makes it sound like they only base it on their own comparisons in their index on whether or not substantial changes have been made. I think the examples above illustrate a few points that need to be stated. Google prefers aged content for some terms. Will changing to an updated date hurt these rankings even if the publish date is old? Google prefers fresh content for some terms. Will changing the date along with having updated them in the past couple of months help with these rankings? I'm not going to open the can of worms of trying to show different dates depending on the queries I want to rank for. I'm going to be making this change sitewide. I also do not want to get into having the dates in the title tags either. Is this a good idea? What have you to say about this in general? Have any of you toyed with this?