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As of January, 2012, this site is no longer updated, due to work and health issues.
This page is in a suite of pages testing how search indexers do with page modification dates. If the server is dynamically setting the page date, adding Dublin Core Date tags can identify the meaningful content date.
There are explicit examples of schema Date meta tags in the HTML recommendations, and support for the Dublin Core date tags, which are standard across the Web. Again, these will probably not be sent with "HEAD" requests, but enterprise search engines can extract them during indexing for date accuracy.
When displaying dates, W3C recommends the ISO 8601 format, YYYY-MM-DD, as in the following example:
<meta name="DC.Date" content="2005-05-01">
Not all search engines will honor these tags, but they ought to!
Dynamic Server-Side Include (SSI) code usually sets the date as "now" (when the page is served). This SSI text shows the current file modification date on the server: Monday, 02-Jan-2012 16:46:33 PST
This test will show whether the indexer believes the server or the metadata content.
Search Code: RTest, RTest266, RTestGood
For more tests, see the Date Test Suite and the List of Search Indexing and Robot Tests.