Q and A: Does a copyright date on a web site affect SEO?

QuestionHi Kalena

I was asked a question recently that I wasn’t sure about regarding SEO. How much does a copyright date on a website affect its SEO? It would make sense that an updated copyright date would say ‘this site has updated content’ to the search engines. But does not having a copyright date, or having an outdated copyright date have a negative effect do you think?

Thank you!

Hi Amy

I’ve not seen any official post about this from Google or otherwise, but my understanding is that a copyright date has no impact whatsoever on SEO.

Anyone can add a copyright date to a page as part of the text or coded in as a HTML comment, whether that date is accurate or not. But for search engines to accurately measure when a page was first published or has since changed, they rely on comparing different cached versions of it, not on what a webmaster includes as a copyright date. It would be too easily manipulated otherwise.

Search engines also monitor domain registration details and change of ownership details to gain a more accurate knowledge of web site history.

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About Kalena Jordan

In my day job, I’m Director of Studies and tutor at the online training institution Search Engine College. In my spare time, I’m a search engine agony aunt and SEO to global clients. I’ve been marketing websites online since 1996 and blogging about search since 2002. To learn more, visit