Last night, when people were searching about the horrible news in Florida, some noticed that some of the recent articles covering the news were labeled by Google has being written days before the event. Obviously, something that happened hours ago, written potentially minutes ago, should not be labeled in the Google search results as being written 2 or 3 days ago.
Danny Sullivan at Google was doing some damage control for Google explaining that sometimes getting the date right, can be hard. One because sometimes the publisher themselves labels their dates incorrectly and sometimes because of timezone issues. Either way, it really should be something Google does get right.
Yes, especially as it can cause confusion. Sometimes we can't control it. For example, a Miami publication had the right date and time but wrong timezone, making the story seem five hours earlier than when it published. Hard for us to fix on our end.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 15, 2018
He also explained why it is hard:
There are many reasons. We may pick up a different date on a page (as with https://t.co/tmT8toOMF5). Sometimes a wrong date is given.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 15, 2018
I'll pass this on. It's very common that time stamp issues can happen for a variety of reasons, such as embedded time stamps having wrong time zone, multiple times on a story and other reasons.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) February 14, 2018
Here are screen shots from last night:
Truth is, I really want Google to institute a date penalty for news or blog stories. If you are going to post stories on your web site where the date is relevant, be it news, advice, tips, etc - they should all be dated and dated in a way that Google can understand. If they can't understand it (a) Google should not show the date and (b) if they are tricking Google or showing Google the wrong date information, they shouldn't rank for that query.
I so despise when blog or news stories do not have dates on them - it is a pet peeve of mine.
Forum discussion at Twitter.