date in search results

Tim Hill tim at
Fri Feb 16 19:55:22 GMT 2018

In article <322755cb56.John at>, John Rickman
<rickman at> wrote:
> In message <8d6444cb56.jim at> Jim Nagel
>           <netsurf at> wrote:

> > What causes Google (or other searchers) to display (or not display) a
> > DATE in search results?

Luck. And a date at the top of the page, as a letter would have. 


> Google is reluctant to return pages with old data. In the beginning
> Google worked by trying to answer queries. Now it uses every query as
> an excuse to present pages that can be monetised. 

Another leg on that conspiratorial stool: is it a good idea to put Google
Ads on your own pages because Google will favour them? (But make sure you
use an ad blocker yourself!)


> In the advanced serch options Google used to have an option to search
> by a range of dates. This has been removed from the mobile a desktop
> versions.

#FakeNews. ;-)   It is still on desktops.

It's the eighth parameter on that page.

> Who is likely to want to pay for advert to pop up on a page that was
> last updated a long time ago?

Advertising placement doesn't work like that. The advert is grabbed from
a pool as the page is being viewed; it's  value is on being viewed now,
and what words it contains, not necessarily how old it may be. 

It's easy to fake those dates anyway. Only things like give a true idea of page's age as it keeps a note
of when things are fetched.

There is another huge factor which has pushed many older pages further
down all search results. Mobile compatibility. Even if your content is
not specifically expecting mobile users (e.g. any RISC OS specific site!)
your web pages won't appear high in the results if they don't work on a
phone against pages that do. This is because mobile use of the web
overtook desktops in November 2016 and Google changed their policy to
prioritise mobile-friendly content.

(Yes, perhaps it is a bit odd. Desktop search results have non-mobile
content 'suppressed' even though a desktop user isn't looking for mobile

Your mention of YouTube is illustrative. It works on every size of
display; most old websites don't. YT is also Google's own site, obviously.

For registered webmasters, Google search helpfully displays your own page
results with "This page is not mobile friendly" if that applies. (Too
bloody often, tbh).

I'd like to think all RISC OS webmasters are feeding their sites into  and gradually fixing this
but they are obviously not(!). However, with no serious mobile-friendly
competition, there is little incentive for RISC OS specific web sites to
improve. Perhaps young people will, in frustration, write their own
mobile-friendly RISC OS websites. :-o

I know from personal experience that (e.g.) a site which uses large fixed
widths for layout or - perish the thought - tables for non-tabular
information, or even just large images, iframes, frames or small buttons
too close together, it is a whole lot of fun trying to make content work 
and look okay on both an iPhone 5 with a 320px wide screen and a
3840x2160 4K display.



Tim Hill : : : :

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