Can we find web pages, including social profiles, that have recently been updated? (We all know that updates may mean warming up for a new employment opportunity).
On Google, you can set a date range for the search results, then sort by date. However, I have long noticed that, even if we set a date range from the beginning of times until now, we will be losing some search results. Apparently, for some pages, Googlebot cannot define the last updated date, and those pages would be missing from the results if sorted by date.
Greg Lindahl, Founder and CTO of (now defunct) search engine Blekko, acquired by IBM Watson in 2015, provides an excellent overview of web page dates’ challenge for search engines on Quora:
“There are two huge problems for date sorting of search results.
The first is that date sort — and I really mean date sort, not relevance sort of a date range like “past hour” or “june 3” — means you only get 1 bit of relevance, where something is included or excluded. This means you may get a lot of spam…
The second is what date should be assigned to a webpage. The first date it was crawled? The date on the page? If a page changes slightly, does it get a new date? If a website puts the current date and time on every page, what do you do?”
If we are X-raying a site for profiles, the “spam” issue is not as significant, since all the results would be profiles. But the second problem Greg states is there – depending on the site. A pages’ last updated date depends on “how well” the site “tells” Googlebot about the date.
Here is a TIP: to find out whether Google has the last updated date for a page, and what it is, X-ray for the page, while setting a wide date range.
It turns out, for the majority of LinkedIn profiles the date is a question mark and, therefore, the date is absent in Google’s index. Compare, for example, these two X-Ray searches:
- site:linkedin.com/in/jimstroud (no date range restriction) – Jim’s main profile is the first result
- site:linkedin.com/in/jimstroud (updated after the year 2000) – no results
Some LinkedIn public profiles do have a date, but that’s pretty inconsistent. (Of course, as an additional factor in identifying recent changes is the frequency of Googlebot’s visits to various profiles. I’ll talk about that in another post).
Bottom line, it’s impossible to Google for the most recently updated LinkedIn profiles.
X-Raying other websites? Take a look whether those sites are “better disciplined” in providing the dates. Please share what you discover!
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