I search for and read information on web development topics a lot. The date of publication is a critical piece of information in deciding what to read or how to evaluate it — nothing goes stale faster than writing on technical topics. However, very frequently, articles contain NO SIGN of the publication date – not in the byline, not in the URL, not in the footer — nowhere. If I’ve Googled a topic, I’m sometimes in luck – thankfully, Google understands this fundamental fact and puts the publication date (if *it* can find one somewhere) front and center in the search results. Why can’t article authors observe this basic courtesy?
I’m pretty sure removing dates is an effort to improve the SEO, to draw traffic to older information. But for me, when I’m looking for technical information, if it’s hard or impossible to find a date, it automatically puts the article at the bottom of my to-read list; given no evidence that the information is new, I immediately start looking for something that’s a better investment of my time. So, even if the information is still relevant, by omitting a date, the author has actually decreased the likelihood that I will read it. Plus, the attempt to trick me into reading something makes me distrust the author.
Authors, please, I beg you: stop removing dates from articles and posts!