Do You Put Dates in Your URLs?

Jan 18th
posted in

I wrote an article for Search Engine Land about why I do not like using dates in URLs.

One more reason I just remembered why dates in URLs are bad is that sometimes after you become popular re-releasing an old article that you published before you became popular is an easy way to come up with new content for your readers.

Do you use dates in your URLs? If so, why?

Published: January 18, 2008

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Comments

January 18, 2008 - 3:43am

I used to use dated posts as most of the posts I make end up on Google within an hour or so anyway and are thusly dated. I have since given up on that for the exact reasons you have mentioned.

January 18, 2008 - 4:01am

I think those quick indexing trends are based on data points like site link authority, subscriber counts, and content freshness / publishing periodicity.

January 18, 2008 - 4:37am

The only posts I have with dated URLs are from the time I did not follow SEO. Since then I do not see the point. Why complicate the URL with irrelevant data?

January 18, 2008 - 4:55am

Aaron, I did not know you are popular..:)

January 18, 2008 - 5:07am

Some of my sites are. Some are not. But almost all of them intend to be popular. :)

January 18, 2008 - 7:11am

Aaron, you cool, just as crazy as Me..:)
You speak from you heart and I respect that!

January 18, 2008 - 4:58am

I like to see dates on articles/blogs when I am searching for something to see if it is relevant. If they don't have dates I assume the article is outdated/stale. Although if it has comments the first comment should show when the article was published too.

January 18, 2008 - 5:07am

Yeah...I like dates on the page too, just not in the URL string.

January 18, 2008 - 5:16am

Every single one of my posts is timeless, so no ;)

January 18, 2008 - 5:30am

I am going to go against the crowd and support dated URL's.

When my blog is a few years old, I do not want to give first time readers a false impression when they find one of my old articles.

By providing the date, you publicly announce when the news happened. The click through rate on the search engines will be lower, but the ones that do visit will be much more inclined to read. It may also bring a better click-through rate for others instead. If I am looking for an old wordpress plugin (Technorati tags for example), I will click on the one that has the most recent date and skip all of the other garbage. I think it works both ways, but for now I will continue to use the date in the URL.

January 18, 2008 - 6:21am

But if you put the date in the URL it is harder to refeature old content, and they may never click on your listings if they see that they are dated in the search results. You can get the same advantage by putting dates on the pages without putting them in the URL.

Most searchers are not advanced enough to consider information date, and those that do look at it probably typically look at the date Google puts in the SERPs vs the born on date.

January 18, 2008 - 7:10am

I definitely do not for a couple of reasons.

1) I remember Matt Cutts stating somewhere that it was unnecessary.
2) The date just adds more characters to the URL which cannot help the keyword density of the URL.
3) Users won't type in a search with a date + their content request so it seems meaningless.
4) Dates are represented by the CMS or blogging software you use and the HTTP header information.

January 18, 2008 - 2:50pm

I have a 4 year old wordpress blog with the permalinks structure of :

http://www.mysite.com/2008/01/18/sample-post/

and so I'd like to 301 it to:

http://www.mysite.com/sample-post/

given the information in this post. Does anybody know how to redirect 4 calendar years worth of date structured links to non-date?

Any help appreciated

January 18, 2008 - 3:12pm

I don't think I would change the URL structure if it is already that way. Too much risk IMHO.

This advice was more for setting up a new site.

January 18, 2008 - 3:16pm

It depends on how evergreen the content is. If it's mostly news, I use dates. But for the majority of stuff I don't. You just have to look at whether it will still be relevant 5 or 10 years down the line.

January 18, 2008 - 3:23pm

Thanks guys.
I guess I'll just keep this in mind going forward.

Great site Aaron.

January 18, 2008 - 7:06pm

I agree, I never put dates in my urls.

January 18, 2008 - 8:36pm

I use Moveable Type and see no way of removing the date from the url???

David

January 21, 2008 - 11:45am

I do, primarily because most of the stuff we're posted about, being a pop culture blog and whatnot, is very time-dependent. While I agree that it may clutter the URL and whatnot, I think if the majority of our posts were "timeless" that would work. But as for reworking posts, there's plenty of ways to link deep and repurpose content. Or you could just learn to type faster. :)

January 22, 2008 - 3:38pm

I use dates. Wish I didn't. Changing is difficult midstream -- all the old pages with dates have PageRank. Yes, I could do the whole 301 redirect thing. Maybe someday when I have time.

Perhaps there is a "Reason #5" for not using dates. A date in the URL prohibits inclusion in Yahoo News, does it not?

January 22, 2008 - 8:40pm

I was unaware of that reason, but if it is true that is a big deal too.

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