Someone asked a great question in a recent Google SEO office-hours about preventing Google from showing published dates in the search result. Mueller recommended what to do in that situation where a date published should be prevented from showing in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Static Pages and Publication Dates
Normally Google doesn’t show the date a page like contact or about us doesn’t need to show the publication date.
So if a publisher sees a publication date in the search results it may be evidence of something unexpected in the code that should be removed.
John Mueller provides suggestions on what to do to solve the problem.
Question About Removing Date Snippets
The person asking the question wanted to know how to remove the dates.
This is the question:
“How would you remove date snippets appearing in the search results for static pages like home, services, contact, etc.?”
There is No Date Snippet Meta Tag
Google’s Mueller answered that there is no HTML method to communicate the preference for the date snippet feature.
For example, Google obeys a meta tag called, noarchive. The noarchive meta tag tells Google to not link to a cache of the web page.
There is also a nosnippet meta tag that tells Google not to show a text snippet or video review in Google’s search engine results pages.
But there is no meta tag for telling Google to not show a date snippet from the page.
Google’s John Mueller paused a moment, looking up as he searched for answer.
Then he turned to the camera and said:
“So… we don’t have a meta tag to remove dates in particular from pages that we show in the search results.
Usually we try to understand when it makes sense to show a date on a page.
And we’ll try to show that in the snippet of the search results itself.”
How to Show Specific Dates in Search Snippets
Mueller next said how to specify the right date in Google’s date snippets in the search results.
“If there’s a specific data that you want to have shown, then you can use… I think… the date structured data in the article structured data type, I think… where you can tell use which date we should use there.
So if you do have a date, you can tell us there.
If you don’t tell use there then we’ll look at the content itself to try to find a date within that.”
How to Not Show a Date in the SERPs?
Mueller next suggests ideas of how to diagnose why Google might be showing a date snippet for static pages like the About Us page in the search results.
“If you don’t want a date to be shown, then it’s not possible to suppress that date snippet from being shown.
But what you could do is, of course, make sure that there is no date shown on your page.
So if you don’t have any dates in the HTML page, then we don’t really have much to pick up on to show there.
So especially when you’re talking about things like a home page or a contact page, for the most part you probably don’t have dates on there anyway.
So that should be something where you shouldn’t see that too frequently.
If you do see this on pages where you’d say well… it’s a normal Contact Us page, why is Google ever showing any dates there, then I would love to have examples of that.
So in particular a query where you’re seeing that happen and the URLs from your site where that’s happening from.
So that’s something that we can take up with the team here that works on showing dates and recognizing dates on a page.
Where we can say, well maybe we’re recognizing a phone as a date accidentally and we need to be able to fix that.”
Make Sure No Published Date in HTML
What may be useful, according to John Mueller is to check out your published HTML page and in your browser select to “view code” in order to see if there’s something there that is sending date information to Google.
And if you find some published date information in the HTML code that you don’t want published in Google’s SERPs then the next step would be to find out what’s part of your code is generating that date and remove it.
Watch Google’s John Mueller Answer Date Snippets Question
Google to pay $391.5 million settlement over location tracking, state AGs say
Google has agreed to pay a $391.5 million settlement to 40 states to resolve accusations that it tracked people’s locations in violation of state laws, including snooping on consumers’ whereabouts even after they told the tech behemoth to bug off.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said it is time for Big Tech to recognize state laws that limit data collection efforts.
“I have been ringing the alarm bell on big tech for years, and this is why,” Mr. Landry, a Republican, said in a statement Monday. “Citizens must be able to make informed decisions about what information they release to big tech.”
The attorneys general said the investigation resulted in the largest-ever multistate privacy settlement. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat, said Google’s penalty is a “historic win for consumers.”
“Location data is among the most sensitive and valuable personal information Google collects, and there are so many reasons why a consumer may opt out of tracking,” Mr. Tong said. “Our investigation found that Google continued to collect this personal information even after consumers told them not to. That is an unacceptable invasion of consumer privacy, and a violation of state law.”
Location tracking can help tech companies sell digital ads to marketers looking to connect with consumers within their vicinity. It’s another tool in a data-gathering toolkit that generates more than $200 billion in annual ad revenue for Google, accounting for most of the profits pouring into the coffers of its corporate parent, Alphabet, which has a market value of $1.2 trillion.
The settlement is part of a series of legal challenges to Big Tech in the U.S. and around the world, which include consumer protection and antitrust lawsuits.
Though Google, based in Mountain View, California, said it fixed the problems several years ago, the company’s critics remained skeptical. State attorneys general who also have tussled with Google have questioned whether the tech company will follow through on its commitments.
The states aren’t dialing back their scrutiny of Google’s empire.
Last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said he was filing a lawsuit over reports that Google unlawfully collected millions of Texans’ biometric data such as “voiceprints and records of face geometry.”
The states began investigating Google’s location tracking after The Associated Press reported in 2018 that Android devices and iPhones were storing location data despite the activation of privacy settings intended to prevent the company from following along.
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich went after the company in May 2020. The state’s lawsuit charged that the company had defrauded its users by misleading them into believing they could keep their whereabouts private by turning off location tracking in the settings of their software.
Arizona settled its case with Google for $85 million last month. By then, attorneys general in several other states and the District of Columbia had pounced with their own lawsuits seeking to hold Google accountable.
Along with the hefty penalty, the state attorneys general said, Google must not hide key information about location tracking, must give users detailed information about the types of location tracking information Google collects, and must show additional information to people when users turn location-related account settings to “off.”
States will receive differing sums from the settlement. Mr. Landry’s office said Louisiana would receive more than $12.7 million, and Mr. Tong’s office said Connecticut would collect more than $6.5 million.
The financial penalty will not cripple Google’s business. The company raked in $69 billion in revenue for the third quarter of 2022, according to reports, yielding about $13.9 billion in profit.
Google downplayed its location-tracking tools Monday and said it changed the products at issue long ago.
“Consistent with improvements we’ve made in recent years, we have settled this investigation which was based on outdated product policies that we changed years ago,” Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in a statement.
Google product managers Marlo McGriff and David Monsees defended their company’s Search and Maps products’ usage of location information.
“Location information lets us offer you a more helpful experience when you use our products,” the two men wrote on Google’s blog. “From Google Maps’ driving directions that show you how to avoid traffic to Google Search surfacing local restaurants and letting you know how busy they are, location information helps connect experiences across Google to what’s most relevant and useful.”
The blog post touted transparency tools and auto-delete controls that Google has developed in recent years and said the private browsing Incognito mode prevents Google Maps from saving an account’s search history.
Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees said Google would make changes to its products as part of the settlement. The changes include simplifying the process for deleting location data, updating the method to set up an account and revamping information hubs.
“We’ll provide a new control that allows users to easily turn off their Location History and Web & App Activity settings and delete their past data in one simple flow,” Mr. McGriff and Mr. Monsees wrote. “We’ll also continue deleting Location History data for users who have not recently contributed new Location History data to their account.”
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
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