Search Engine Optimization Tip 25: Update Your Copyright

This is search engine optimization tip number twenty five in our continuing series of Search Engine Optimization tips. All of our SEO tips are meant to be pretty specific in nature, should not take too long to read and review, and will be rather “short and sweet” and directly to the point. This search engine optimization tip has to do with something that you might have forgotten to do: update your copyright date.

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This search engine optimization tip is probably something that you probably forgot about, which we actually need to do at the beginning of each year: update the copyright data on all of the web pages on your web site. This actually does have to do with search engine optimization, and I will explain that in a minute.

Technically speaking, the date of the copyright indicates the year the content was created or published. For articles or blog posts on your web site, I typically recommend that the date when it was published is actually added towards the top of the article or blog post (depending on your blog’s template, it might be included near the title of the blog post, under it, or in a sidebar somewhere. It might actually be located in the URL, as well, especially if it is a blog post. But, the actual copyright date should appear somewhere it your web site’s footer.

For example, if you look at the footer of our site, you’ll see something like this:


As you can see, we have updated our date to 2009. Take a look at your web site. Look to see if you have updated your copyright date. If you have not updated it yet (maybe it’s even a few years old?), then I suggest that you update it. Why? Well, here is where the search engine optimization part comes in: it forces you to review your site’s web pages and, if you update the web page manually, then you will have updated every page on your web site: the search engines will notice this change and they may re-crawl your web site as a result. There’s a “last modified date” on each of the web pages on your site: and if it’s updated then it might cause the search engines to respider that web page, especially if they haven’t in a while.

The copyright notice, and how it’s displayed on your web site, really can vary; the style that you use is really up to you. In fact, if you take a look at here, you will see several different various of the copyright notice:

  • copyright © 2008 Microsoft Corporation. Release: Thursday, February 7, 2008.
  • copyright © 2006 by Microsoft Press Deutschland
  • copyright © 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  • © copyright 2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

There are so many different variations that it’s really up to your particular writing style and the style of your web site: and, most importantly, if you have the room in your footer for a long copyright notice or you need a shorter one.

For search engine optimization purposes, though, you might consider changing the length of your copyright notice and adding or changing the link you may (or may not have) in your copyright. Add a longer or a shorter copyright notice in the footer depending on what you currently are using: if you had a short copyright notice, then add a longer one. This will change the file size of your web pages, which may cause the search engines to see the updated file(s) on your web site. Some of the search engines prefer “fresh” content, and you may be rewarded for the change.

Also, for search engine optimization purposes, you might update the footer of your web pages to include a link to your site’s home page along with your copyright. If you mention your company name in the copyright notice, consider adding linking that either to your web site’s home page or even an “about us” or “about our company” web page on your web site. This additional link may help your search engine rankings.

So, updating the copyright notice on all of the web pages on your web site not only helps your web site look like it’s been updated, updating your copyright notice might the file size of your web page. It might also cause you to take a look at your web pages to see if the copyright has been updated on all pages on your web site. And, looking at your web pages, manually, to review them like this, might reveal some other areas or issues that you have on your site that needs attention.

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