Google’s John Mueller recently advised that updating the publishing date of a page won’t have an impact on rankings.
This topic came up in a Google Webmaster Central Hangout where a user inquired about the last updated date of a page.
The user mentioned their site has pages that are updated automatically throughout the day and wondered whether they should be displaying the last updated date on those pages.
In response, Mueller said there’s no harm in displaying the last updated date. However, there’s no benefit to changing the last updated date of a page as far as SEO is concerned.
Mueller gave the example of weather forecast pages, which are consistently updated throughout the day. Those pages do not suddenly rank better as a result of the last updated date always changing.
From the perspective of users, it may make sense to inform people of when the page was last updated, but it will not play a role when it comes to search.
Hear the full question and answer below, starting at the 36:12 mark:
“You can use [the last updated date], I don’t think you would see much of a change with regards to search – like crawling, indexing, or ranking-wise – if you changed the date or the timestamp on a page on a regular basis.
For example, weather report pages are probably updated every couple of minutes, or every hour at least, but that doesn’t mean that these pages suddenly rank a lot better if they have the date stamp that matches the last change that they made on the page.
For users that probably makes a lot of sense. But I wouldn’t expect this to play a role in search.”
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