Why Use the Updated/Modified Date?
Recently, I was looking for ways to replace the published date on posts with the updated date. “Why would you want to do this?”, you might ask. Well, primarily it’s because I make a lot of updates to post content and I want readers to know that the content they are reading is current and relevant. Diplaying an “Updated on…” date will convey exactly what I want my readers to know. If I were to leave the “Published on…” date, the post would only ever display that date. Therefore, if I post something today and come back in a year to update it, readers will initially think that the content is a year old and possibly outdated when it was just updated.
Another big reason for using the updated/modified date instead of the published date is for search engine appearances. When you find a blog article in Google, there’s typically a date right there for you to see when the published date was. Personally, I consider this date pretty heavily before clicking on a Google search result, especially if it’s WordPress or tech related since this type of content is rapidly changing. If I strongly consider the date of a blog article before clicking, others will too. Since I blog about WordPress and web-related technology, I want to make sure my current and potential readers know that the content they are about to click on is up to date.
Displaying the Updated date using Genesis Framework
The following snippet, specific for the Genesis Framework, is what I use on this website to show the last updated date when I edit a post in any proceeding month after is it published. It also includes schema.org micro data for better search engine performance.
One thing to note about the code is that, since it’s my exact code, I decided not to show the updates date if the date is the same month and year as the publish date. The reason for this is because I frequently update newly published posts to fix typos and grammar errors so most of my posts would show as updated a day or two after they were originally published, which I’m not a big fan of. This boils down to a matter of preference so, if you prefer to do something different, you can just modify the code.