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Should You Include the Year in Your Review Titles?

Discussion in 'SEO & PPC Marketing' started by Kevin Muldoon, Oct 16, 2014.

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  1. I am having a good discussion with Josh Rueff; a blogger who is going to write for me.

    He advised me to include 2014 in the title of a review he is publishing as it will help me rank better. Though I am not sure this is always necessary.

    I do see his point that more and more people are appending the year onto searches, however I have not seen anything conclusive that suggests that "Productname Review 2014" gets more searches than "Productname Review".

    Josh showed me a screenshot of the SERPS produced by "Productname Review 2014" and some reviews do have 2014 in the title. However, when I do a search for "Productname Review", there is only one review on the first results page with 2014 in the title. This highlights that the results page for his search has more results with reviews that have 2014 in the title as that is what the person searched for. When they don't append the year, there is nothing to suggest that adding the year helps.

    Josh suggested adding the year to the title and then changing it later. I don't want to go back and edit older articles to do this; however I do realise that many websites do just that.

    My thinking is that the date is clearly visible in the post meta area anyways (I'm not someone who reviews it). Therefore, search engines will see that it is for 2014 and help me rank for it. Am I wrong in thinking this?

    I think Josh raises an interesting point about more people appending the year, though I still believe the majority of people do not. However, I have not read anything to suggest that either way is good or bad.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

  2. I think it might make sense if the product changes quite often, say like different software versions mostly like Antivirus so instead of Antivirus review you could say Antivirus Review 2014 to make a point that its a 2014 review and not a older review. But to add that to say something generic like say for example Lumia 1020 Review and instead write Lumia 1020 Review 2014 does not make sense, so I think adding Year to the end will make sense in some specific type of product options.
  3. Most of my reviews will be internet marketing related. Therefore my reviews will focus on products and services related to blogging, WordPress, social media, website development etc.
  4. @Kevin Muldoon Yes given that I doubt if its good to have the year show up. May be some better option would be for example Wordpress 4.0 Review would sound and look more professional rather than say Wordpress Review 2014. From an SEO perspective it might be better but for a user like me, I would find it a bit odd to find year mentioned after each blog title.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  5. Hmmmm....interesting idea.

    Personally, there are ways of trying to figure out when a review is posted, something that I do try and do. I think I'd trust somebody who was open & honest about the date of the review was made, rather than somebody who was trying to hide it.
  6. That would not be necessary as specific releases of WordPress are only released one time. Therefore, someone who is searching for WordPress 4.0 just now would be less likely to search for WordPress 4.0 in a year as WordPress 4.3 or 4.4 would be out.

    I am referring to products and services that aren't tied to a specific version. For example, a review of a hosting company such as HostGator. Or even a review of Rise Forums.

    Sorry Rhys. Just to clarify, I am not talking about removing the post stamp from the article. That is not something I would do. I always include the publication date in the meta details.

    I am referring to using the year in the post title e.g. "Review of Hosting Company X 2014".
  7. Yeah I'm aware of that :).

    I just quite like what you are doing to further enforce what year it is, when most affiliates I see hide things.
  8. Yeah I don't like when affiliates remove the post date. Very annoying from a reader's perspective.

    I certainly don't want to mislead readers; however I don't want long articles to appear dated either. I think there is a risk of that happening if you append the year to articles. An article published in December 2014 could look dated in March or April 2015; despite the fact it's only a few months old.
  9. Well personally I would avoid year unless its something quite specific. Like say Godaddy Review 2014 or Godaddy Review 2013 does not make much sense to me.

    Say if I were to view the article of 2013 that you published in say December say in Jan 2014 does that meant he article is not relevant? I think ideally, you should update your older articles to say "Updated Article March 2014 > click here to view" or something like that. So even if a user were to read a previous article right on top they see the mention that you have already updated the article / review again so it helps them.
  10. That's a good point Prakash. I think an updated message is useful if you do update an article.
  11. You can always do some cheating by adding a small 'fix' into the loop :angelic:

    <h2><a href="<?php the_permalink() ?>" rel="bookmark" title="Permanent Link to <?php the_title(); ?>"><?php the_title(); ?> <?php the_time('Y'); ?></a></h2>
  12. haha that is sneaky Kris. The same could be achieved via WordPress SEO by Yoast via the settings area.
  13. After reading everything, it is still not clear to me why Josh believes including the year in the title is better :coffee: could you shed some light on this?

    Personally, I will search Google for "product name review" and wouldn't even think to add a year to it.
  14. I have asked Josh to drop by and give his view on the issue. He did bring up some interesting points during our email discussion, so it will be good if he clarifies his view on the issue.

    As you know, I'm not an SEO expert, but I'm keen to know whether things like this really matter.
  15. Heya! So before I give my take on it, let me throw this disclaimer out there — I have no way to prove that this works better. It's kind of theoretical, like many things in the world of SEO.

    My first observation is an obvious one. The title of the article holds a good bit of clout in the realm of on-page optimization, so the keywords and keyword groups we're trying to rank for should be included here.

    The important question is, which keyword group should be optimized for and included in the title?

    A comparison of title strategy:

    "The Best Wordpress Plugins"


    "The Best Wordpress Plugins for 2014"

    As far as SEO benefits go, the second should retain all of the benefits the first has because the longtail keyword "Wordpress Plugins" is the same in both, but with the extra kicker of the longtail keyword "Wordpress Plugins 2014".

    If both articles rank evenly on all accounts except for the title, the second title should pull in more traffic, because of the extra benefit of the date added to the title.

    It's a small advantage, but you know how it goes, a single grain of rice tipping the scales and all.

    On the less robotic, more human side of things...

    The only drawback is aesthetics, if it's really a drawback.

    I expect the benefits of seeing "2014" in the title of a review that the reader wants to be up to date and from the year 2014, should outweigh the costs of people noting that the title is cumbersome and visually unattractive.

    The CTR would take very little damage from date/time OCD I think, and the SEO benefits alone would take care of that.
    Kris Hoja likes this.
  16. Thanks for dropping by to give your view on this Josh :)

    You bring up a good point about getting the longtail traffic as well.

    But that theory would suggest that it is always better to use a long title so that more keywords are displayed. In my experience, that is not always the case. I see a lot of reviews at the top of search results that are just named "Product Review" rather than "Product Review Keyword1 Keyword2 Keyword3".

    Also, when I did some searches for a key phrase without the year, the results were dominated by article titles that did not contain the year.

    As you say, we are just discussing hypothetical situations here.

    Anyone know of a good service for estimating search traffic? I could do a comparison of five different search terms with and without the year in the title. It will be interesting to see the results.
  17. I like Google Adwords for researching keywords — from the "wordpress plugins" examples above, here's the average searches per month for each keyword group:

    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  18. Interesting.

    There are over 100 times more searches for "WordPress Plugins" without 2014 appended. However, I'm certainly not disputing the extra benefits of the long tail. It could help you get a lot more traffic you would not otherwise receive.

    My questions are:
    • Are articles with 2014 appended to the title ranked in the same way as those without when someone searches for "WordPress Plugins"
    • Are articles without 2014 appended to the title ranked in search results for "WordPress Plugins 2014" (assuming the post stamp is visible and says 2014)
    In other words, won't good articles, regardless of the year is appended to the title, be found in the SERPS for WordPress Plugins" and WordPress Plugins 2014"?
  19. Absolutely. Good content will always outrank crap content because Google places a lot of weight on traffic and shares and social media signals that indicate quality. Matt Cutts can deny it until he's blue in the face, but social signals are on the verge of replacing backlinks as the most important SEO factor. They might have already.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, yes, quality articles on the subject will be ranked for both "WordPress Plugins" and "WordPress Plugins 2014" searches, but if you were to place two articles of equal quality side by side, the article with the date included in the title should outrank the other because it has a little extra weight.

    As the googlebot crawls the page, it sees the 2014 in the title, and essentially, attaches a "score" to a multitude of potential searches — the search "WordPress Plugins 2014" will have a higher score for the article with 2014 in the title because the googlebot gives more clout to this section than it does the other parts of the page.

    As far as the title "WordPress Plugins 2014" being penalized or not ranked as high as "WordPress Plugins" for the search "WordPress Plugins", I'm pretty sure that wouldn't happen because the change in keyword density is a tiny fraction of a fraction.
  20. It does sound right. I mean, it makes sense that an extra keyword in the page title will give a page more change of being indexed and ranked high.

    I'd love to see a detailed case study that shows conclusively that this is the case.

    It also raises the question as to whether you are better adding the year to your title, or another keyword or two. For example, is "Productivity Tips 2014" better than "Productivity Tips to Make You Money".
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