How Dating Posts Can Work Against You ( SEO )

Too long didn’t read version >>

Backstory

For those of you who may not know, I run a website called AfternoonCrash.com. Recently, I had a story go viral after my post on Heath Ledger’s Inspiration for the Joker was high on the Google ranking for anything related to Heath Ledger and the Joker. My post had been around for months and saw a little traffic here and there. Once the internet took hold if it suddenly it popped up everywhere including some pretty mainstream sites as “new.” Hardly anyone gave credit where credit was due but, I am not here to complain about that.

What I found very interesting was, my post was suddenly marked old by Google and fell very far down on the ranking. The people who knew where the post came from, had to search for Heath Ledger, the Joker and afternooncrash in order to find they post they were familiar with (I watched my stats like a hawk). This concerned me because now all of a sudden, my traffic started going down and those other sites were apparently more relevant to Google.

Technical Solution

Was the date of the post really the issue, or was it something else like the popularity of the website? I had a hunch and did some research, that is when I came across an article by ProBlogger.net where the author stated:

“Dates on Recent Posts But Not on Older Ones – I saw one blogger do this last year (I’m afraid I don’t remember who it was). They had hacked WordPress so that dates appeared on recent posts (within the last 3 months) but anything older than that did not have time stamps either on the post or comments. This meant that the blogger benefited from new posts looking new and took the potential distraction of old posts away from readers. I don’t know exactly how the blogger did it but presume they set up a rule that looked at the date of authorship and then determined whether the date would be displayed or not.”

This idea sounded exactly like what I was looking for. With a quick Google search I found a post on http://goodkarmahost.com which showed exactly how to do this in WordPress.

It is as simple as replacing the following line in my single.php file:

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<?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?>

With:

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<?php
$today = date('r');
$articledate = get_the_time('r');
$difference = round((strtotime($today) - strtotime($articledate))/(24*60*60),0);
if ($difference >= 30)
{
?>
<!-- Aged Gem -->
<?php
} else {?>
<!-- Fresh Gem --><strong><?php the_time('F jS, Y') ?></strong>
<?php
}?>

Conclusion

Finally, what does this all mean? Once I implemented this code to remove dates from older posts, suddenly my post found its way to the top of the Google search and, traffic is starting to flow again.

Now, if you are posting time sensitive material then you probably won’t want to do this. However, if you material isn’t time sensitive this is an excellent solution to keep your recent content relevant by containing dates and showing your readers that you are regularly updating the site, as well as, keeping your older content relevant and not automatically buried by Google because you were one of the first people to discover the content.

For more information on dating content I suggest you check out the article on ProBlogger.net.

As always, I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments! Send me all of your success or failure stories.

The Power of Doing The Job You Want, Not Waiting For It

 

Back-story

I often don’t find the time to write about my work experiences outside of web design. Like many aspiring freelance web designers I have a day job which is very different than what I generally use seandfeeney.com for.  For no other reason than, it is hard to write about confidential initiatives that are not finalized.  To give a brief background, I spend most of my time working as a Program Manager, by way of a Technical Support Engineer, in the remote technical customer services division of EMC Corp.

I didn’t get into this Program Manager role by waiting around for someone to recognize my skills and offer me a position.  It rarely works that way.  The core of what I am about to discuss stems all the way back  to when I was 13 and got my first job working for parking at Foxboro Stadium (now Gillette Stadium, yes where the Patriots play).  I started out as the low man on the totem pole and was told, do this, go here and wave the flag.  I did this for a little while but, the days dragged on and I quickly began to find what I was doing very boring.  Here I am a teenager surrounded by people partying and I was bored. In order to make my time work for me, I started slowly but surely, acting as a leader in the parking lots I worked in. Within a very short period of time, I was among the youngest employees that was a lot supervisor in some of the busiest locations at Foxboro/Gillette Stadium.

It is this work ethic, that has allowed me in just about any job I have ever worked in, to do the job I want, not only the job I am told to.  Of course, you can’t just do whatever you want because someone would probably complain that you are not doing your job; however, you can do a variation of your job which satisfies the requirements of why you were hired and allows you to do something that helps develop the skill-set you aspire to do with the added benefit of discovering what your true passion is.

 

What should you do?

Ask, ask, and ask again to be involved in tasks, projects and initiatives where ever you can. Keep asking and throw yourself into anything you can get your hands on, especially early on in your career.  What this will do is force you to live outside your comfort zone and you will quickly see that you can do it; Then, it will suddenly become less of an issue with confidence because you will look back and say, “that wasn’t so bad!”

Sure, you will probably from time to time work on projects and initiatives that are not that thrilling and they may not yield much benefit but, keep you head high and push right through it.  On the other side, you will learn some valuable information like, what you don’t want to do with your career, how to avoid it, who does what in your company, gain a larger personal network, etc.

Some jobs and companies may not have a whole lot of opportunities to take on additional tasks.  The mere fact that you even ask often shows your interest in going above and beyond and instantly allows you to gain credibility and puts you in the minds of your seniors / managers.  When the next time an opportunity actually does come up, you will be at the top of the list of people to go to.

 

Building a resume by doing it

When I first started finding my interests in technology, I didn’t know a lot of people in the field and getting my name out there wasn’t easy.  I found the only way to learn something was by doing it.  For the longest time, I struggled with the very first step.  Where do you start?  I used to read and read and read and never found a good answer to that question until, it finally clicked.  Start anywhere!

I know it seems too easy and you can often question it, “Start anywhere? Where is anywhere?” but, it really doesn’t matter where you start.  Sure, some starting points get you on the right track faster but, you will often never know until you do it and find out what the best path was, when you look back on it.  Even if you start off on the wrong foot, you will learn it is the wrong foot and that will often narrow down your paths to take from there, making your next move that much more clear.

Let’s take a look at my web design work for instance.  Starting out, I didn’t know anyone who did web design.  With no connections and no clients who will trust your work because you don’t have any experience? So, I just started coding.  I started with a personal blog, asked around at my college for extra work, got the option to work on a section of the schools website, then a client, AfternoonCrash.com, and more and more clients have been coming.  Why did this happen?  Because I asked for more and just started somewhere, anywhere.  I am certain that some of the work I do now will be less meaningful in the future and I will have to move on from it but, that doesn’t matter.  Optimizing your time, comes with time.  Meaning, in due time you will learn what is and isn’t working for you.

 

Why should you listen to me?

You shouldn’t.  You should be getting out there and making it happen.  Don’t be afraid to try new things because  whether it is positive or negative, you can always learn something about yourself and about others from the experience.  All I can say is, I did this and went form being the shy, low man on the totem pole with little confidence in myself to working directly a global senior director of a very well known corporation and leading / participating in many global initiatives.  Best of all, I learn everyday what many of my strengths and weaknesses are.  I learn what jobs and opportunities are right for me.  I also know that in any position I’ve had, I was often looked at as one of the more counted on, “go to” employees.

Good luck! Remember, always use your experiences as an experiment and learn from your successes and failures. EVERYONE FAILS, it is truly always an option.

Let’s Dream Again

A call to action for NASA, the United States Government and the rest of the world

 

Recently, I was watching an older episode of Top Gear UK, the episode where James May visited NASA and took the latest iteration of the moon buggy out for a spin (first half featured below).  Watching this segment, you can clearly see that here is a mature adult who made a career out of driving million dollar super cars, driving an incredibly awkward vehicle at a top speed of 10 miles an hour who has suddenly become a kid again with a dream that he too could someday be an astronaut again. This dream is nothing more than the sheer manifestation of immense inspiration obtained from pure technical and scientific achievement; only, to be met with the utter disappointment when he realizes that this vehicle will never actually be able to make it to the moon because the United States Government suspended funding for any future moon missions.

First Half of the Top Gear UK Moon Buggy Segment.

In an attempt to keep this very dream alive, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson has been trying very hard to breathe life back into the spirit of discovery and how it will help to fix the many economic issues society currently faces today but also, give the younger generations something to strive towards and dream about once again.  Dr. Tyson’s analysis of history shows that there is a direct correlation between scientific achievement, economic stimulation and revolutionary entrepreneurship through public missions like the 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing.  These missions not only give us insight into how our species came to be so we can help to predict our fate and future and ensure our continued existence on earth but, they also pave way for generations of inspiration and technical/scientific advancement to come.

Video of “Neil deGrasse Tyson – We Stopped Dreaming”

Where am I going with this? Scientific discovery is not just a United States mission.  It is a mission that any person can feel empowered and make a difference.  James May of Top Gear in Britain shouldn’t feel let down because of the lack of priority by the US Government.  A child should not stop dreaming because he/she will not be able to experience the joy and excitement of watching another moon landing like my parents did about 40 years ago.

We live in a bureaucratic society.  By the very definition of bureaucracy (according to Merriam-Webster), is “a body of nonelective government officials.” After watching a TED Talk from Jennifer Pahlka, I realized that we are going about this all wrong. We, as citizens of the world, have an opportunity and an obligation to keep those dreams alive.  We shouldn’t be waiting for the government to properly prioritize NASA’s funding. If we waited, it would probably never happen.  Let’s do what the government is failing to do.

Jennifer Pahlka: Coding a better government

While Dr. Tyson’s awareness campaign have been very enlightening, a call to action is required if we really want to move forward.  I propose, we breathe life back into our dreams, stop waiting for the government, and let’s start awareness conferences and non-profit organizations’ where we can get the entire world to be able to donate and jumpstart another lunar mission and put NASA back in its rightful place of enabling us to dream again, and fulfilling our mission to send our society into the next unknown.