By default, most WordPress themes are configured to display the date a post was created and published on. That means, no matter how many updates are done, every post will show historical dates. Content can be updated multiple times but the date remains the same. But it is possible to configure any theme to show the updated date according to the reviews done to the post.

Switching to updated dates is beneficial because it tells the visitors the last time the post was reviewed. Dates are also used by search engines and are displayed alongside search rankings. People searching and discovering content through search engines usually prefer to see posts that have been updated or published recently. So, there is a chance that search engine traffic will increase if posts are updated with the times and displayed as so.

Here are two methods on how to configure any theme to display updated dates in posts and pages:

Using a Plugin

The simplest way to display the last revised date on all posts is with the help of a plugin called WP Last Modified. This plugin doesn’t replace the date field in posts. What it does is allow us to place the last modified date above or below all posts. There are options to choose the date format and the verb to display i.e. placing something like “Updated on:” as a label.

Settings of WP Last Modified

Additional features include the ability to add revise date meta tag in the <head></head> section. It will add a code like:

[html light=”true”]<meta name="revised" content="Sunday, May 12, 2013, 8:56 pm" />[/html]

In the header tag of posts and pages depending upon the option that is chosen.

Manually by Editing Template Files and Tags

The theme’s PHP files can be edited so that they may show the updated date. For that, the exact file(s) should be located and updated with a proper code.

Special Note: Create child themes and edit the files by moving them into this new folder for changes to stay even after the theme is updated.

Note that it is not the same process for all the themes. This post will just give you an idea of what you have to change. Themes are designed uniquely. Some themes use special template tags like:

[php light=”true”]get_template_part();[/php]

In files like single.php or content.php to load the content. You’ll have to dig further into PHP files that responds to this template tag. Sometimes, it is even easier to open all the PHP files inside the active theme directory and search within their content to discover which file(s) is/are used to display the published date. Just search for keywords like _date.

At times, multiple files have to be edited to change the published date everywhere. That means editing multiple files that list posts in the homepage, category and tags pages, search results, display pages and posts separately.

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