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Google Changes Date-Based Searching to Make It Easier

Google date-based searching

Have you ever felt like it was too hard to really run Google searches based on the date? A lot of your automatic results come up with the most recent articles. That's fine if you're looking for breaking news or something else of that nature, but what if you're doing research and you need something older? Maybe you remember bits and pieces from an article you read years ago, but not enough to bring it up again. How do you search for that and filter out all of the more recent -- and, to you, irrelevant -- results? How can you start looking for content from a certain date to wade through instead of all of the new content that comes out every day?

The Change

Fortunately, Google recently tackled that issue and made it far easier. In the past, you could sort by date in more of a loose sense -- sorting for recent articles, for instance, or stories from the past week. But it was an extra step and wasn't all that precise if you needed something older.

Now, you can just type your date into Google as you do the search, and you get the results that you're looking for right off the bat. Let's quickly run down how the new formatting works. Essentially, you enter the search that you want, the word "after", a colon, and then the date.

For example, maybe you want to read ESPN articles about the Denver Broncos that came out after February 5 of this year. You could write "ESPN Denver Broncos after: 2019-02-05."

It gets better. You can also search for things before a specific date. You just use "before:" instead of "after:" in the above example. Furthermore, if you really know that you want something from a precise timeframe, you can use "before" and "after" at the same time, in a single search. This could hone things down to a single week or a single day, if you want. You can be far more precise than the older drop-down options ever allowed you to be.

Google does allow some room for error when it comes to date formatting. If you'd rather use dashes, you can. If you just want to list a specific year without a day, you can. The point is to give you more control over your searches, not to force you to memorize a complex method of entering those searches.

Even so, some have complained that this solution still may feel a bit clunky for those who do not use it on a regular basis. It's a step in the first direction, as far as capability, but it will be interesting to see if Google refines it in the future to make it more accessible for everyone.

Search Optimization

What will this mean for searches and optimization? Will it mean that older content stays relevant for longer? Will it mean that users do not always search for the most recent posts, but may tailor things more toward the useful content that they actually want? It's a new change, so the impact has yet to be seen, but it's important to keep in mind when considering your optimization strategy.

Jonathan Schlosser

Posted on 11th April, 2019 by Jonathan Schlosser

About Jonathan Schlosser

Jon Schlosser is a professional writer and SEO specialist living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

View all posts by Jonathan Schlosser

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