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Nothing is more frustrating when you’re attempting to research a current topic than getting results that are clearly outdated. I’m constantly adding dates to the beginning or the end of my search terms yet it can still be hard to find good results. I suspect that’s because few companies consider the year or the month in their page content strategies.

Adding the year or date information right into your page (title, headings, text, and even meta data that appears in Search Results) can help you outrank competitors for a far less competitive space and tell searchers your content is up to date.

This is a tactic that Rand Fishkin suggested in his whiteboard Friday post on February 10, 2017. With some research, ingenuity, and a keen competitive eye, you too could use this rarely addressed SEO strategy to gather traffic.

Here are three ways chronology can cut out a lot of the competition and boost your rankings and traffic.

1. Answers a search need that isn’t being met.

It wouldn’t make sense to search “Best Headphones of 2018” when our calendars remind us it’s still 2017. But as the early part of 2017 is already underway it will become more progressively plausible to search BEST Headphones of 2017. Early in the year there will be few others using the 2017 appendage in their content. As the year comes to a close though, the “Top 2017” lists will start spreading like wildfire. If your content includes the month or the year, you’ll be well on your way to providing Search Engines with terms that few competitors are even considering.

2. Uses less competitive, more focused phrases that are easier to rank.

The term “best headphones” will be much more competitive than the more specific term “best headphones of 2017”. Including references to the year or month should provide you with more opportunities with which to rank where few other competitors are trying to rank. Down the road, competitors may also begin using your tactics, but by then you’ll likely have acquired enough authoritative traffic to maintain a coveted position.

Fishkin suggests starting your research out with non-dated keywords (ex. best headphones) and then adding the current date to the beginning or end of the keyword (2017 best headphones, best headphones 2017). You can also funnel down and go back in time and look at search volumes for the search term in the previous year (best headphones 2015, best headphones 2016) to see how popular those terms were.

3. Establishes your authority on the topic early on.

Whatever time period you decide to use, getting in early (whether early in the month or early in the year) will likely provide a better chance of ranking before competitors catch on. Your new page will be indexed and start ranking in a time when there is less competition. This also allows your page to build credibility with the Search Engines.

One additional tip is to remember to go back and revisit old dated pages. Did your “Best Headphones 2015” page get a lot of views? Why not recreate one for the coming year?

If you have any questions about your SEO plans for 2017, give 1st on the List a call at 1-888-262-6687.