For validation and accuracy reasons, it is sometimes important to check when a website was last updated to ensure the information you are reading is up-to-date and usable.
Whether you are writing a university essay, putting together a document for work, or creating a research paper, you need to make sure your facts and information are current.
What Dates Can Relate to a Published Web Page?
Generally, three dates can be associated with a web page to determine how up-to-date it is. These are the published date, the last modified date, and the indexed date.
- The Published Date is the original date the web page was published on the internet.
- The Modified Date is when the web page was last updated or the content was changed.
- The Indexed Date is when the web page was indexed by a Search Engine Crawler (Google, for example) and the content was made available in the Search Engine results.
With this information, you can determine how old the original article is, when it was updated with new information, and when the last time a search engine crawled the content.
If any of these dates are a considerable time in the past, then it may be wise to assume the content is not up-to-date.
4 Simple Checks To See When a Website Was Last Updated
Here are 4 simple methods to check when the web page or website was last updated.
1. View the Source Code
The most common method for checking the date of a web page is by checking its HTTP header, which contains a range of information.
The internet uses this information, which is displayed by the HTTP Protocol to manage data, helping to define the World Wide Web as we know it.
To do this, simply right-click on the web page you are viewing and click the “view page source” (CTRL+U) option.
Doing so will display the code that generates the web page, and the date information can be found within the <meta> tags, which are in the <head> section of the page.
If you are struggling to locate this information, then you can use the “CTRL + F” function on your keyboard to find specific words. In this case, try searching for “date”, “modified” or “update”.
2. Check the XML Sitemap (Modified Date)
Another way of checking a web page’s last updated date is by looking at the XML sitemap of the website.
These sitemaps are used by search engine crawlers to make it easier for them to assess the structure of the website, thus, making it easier to navigate. Usually, the sitemap will also contain the “last modified” date.
To view a sitemap, you can type the URL of the website in the URL bar, followed by “/sitemap.xml.”, although sometimes the name of the sitemap file can vary. For example, the Siteefy Sitemap is https://siteefy.com/sitemap_index.xml.
The web pages will then be listed alongside their last modified date.
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3. Google Search (Indexed Date)
Google also provides the functionality to search for the dates of web pages, using a specific search query.
To find out the date of a website, simply type the following into the Google search bar: “inurl:sitename.com/page-url/“.
Then, in your browser’s address bar, add “&as_qdr=y15” at the end of the returned search URL. You should then hopefully see a date in the meta description of the search return. This date refers to when the page was indexed.
⚡ Learn more ➡️ People Also Search For (Google) – Ultimate Guide
4. Google Cache (Modified Date)
When searching for a website using Google, you may see three vertical dots next to the title of the page, clicking this will give you access to page information, including when the website was last cached.
The date the website was last cached usually coincides with when it was last modified.
After clicking the three buttons next to the page title, you will then see this screen. Click the cached button in the bottom right corner to find out when the web page was last cached.
Alternatively, you may also use a website called Internet Archive which uses a crawl engine named the Wayback Machine to display information regarding almost any website. This information includes the “modified date”.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. Browse the rest of our blog to discover more useful hints and tips relating to a wide range of web-based topics.