What is a cached page on Google and what does it mean to you?
Search results on Google often come with a “Cached” page version that can be accessed by clicking the arrow next to the URL.
Clicking “Cached,” will take you to the version of the page that Google saw when it last visited the site and indexed its content.
Google will let you know you’re viewing a cached page snapshot, as well as the day it appeared.
Why would you want to access a cached page?
Because some websites change frequently, these cached versions can be very different from the current page you’ll see if you click on the search result. Although it may seem counterproductive to view an outdated webpage, there are certain situations where viewing cached pages can be beneficial to both website visitors and developers:
If the website is no longer available
Even if a website is no longer available, Google will have a copy stored in its archives. You can still access the cached page.
If the website has changed dramatically
If a site is no longer related to your search or has hard-to-find information after major changes, viewing the cached page will make you more likely to find relevant and familiar content.
If you want to view a page faster
Although a cached page may not have the most up-to-date information, it will likely appear more quickly; page caching can lower server load by up to 80%.
If you want to optimize for SEO
Cached websites can be useful for SEO purposes: viewing the text-only version of a website will allow you to see it the way Google does when it crawls, giving you a better idea of how to optimize content for keywords and other non-design elements.
Bonus Tip: The WayBack Machine, an initiative of the Internet Archive, stores cached webpages in its archive of over 525 billion web pages, along with millions of books, audio recordings, image, videos and more.
How to remove spammy content that’s cached on Google
There may be instances you do not want people to access your cached content, and can remove it. We had a client whose site had been hacked and stuffed with spammy content about prescription drugs. They updated their site, but Google still showed the spammy text in the cached page link.
If you need to remove cached pages like this, use Google’s Webmaster Tools here. Google will remove the snippet and cached page from search results, although the title and URL of the page will still be visible. In addition, Google notes that once “the page has been re-crawled and re-indexed, the search result with an updated snippet and cached page (based on the new content) can be visible.”
How to prevent Google from caching your site’s pages
You can prevent a page from ever being cached by inserting this tag into the <head> portion of your page’s code:
- You put that code on each individual page you no longer want cached in Google
- This does not affect indexing, which Google will still crawl and index this page’s content (unless other tags or robots.txt directives tell it otherwise), the meta tags above tell googlebot not to cache the page.
Google’s cached pages are a neat and easily accessed feature that can help you find or remove webpage content.