You are probably aware that Google uses crawler bots to go through websites and scan the content. But did you know that Google doesn’t just crawl through websites?
The IT giant also records and stores all scanned sites in a database on its servers. This database is called Google Cache, and today we are going to take a closer look at it.
What Is Google Cache?
All websites that we can access are stored on remote servers. To provide users with search results, Googlebot has to visit websites, crawl through the content, and index them.
However, Google does one more thing. It takes a snapshot of every webpage and keeps it as a backup in case the live page isn’t available for any of the reasons. Google keeps millions of sites as a backup, and this unified database is called Google Cache.
The practice improved the user experience. For instance, if any of the search results interest you, but they are not currently available (deleted, offline, or else), you can access the web page via Google Cache.
If you take a look at Google search result pages, you can see that the search results have, in fact, snapshots of the websites attached to them in the SERPS. Google has optimized its platform so that the algorithm returns search results with links attached to relevant pages in Google Cache.
It is quite amazing, given the fact that the caching system is completely separated from the crawling and indexing systems.
For instance, if you type in what is google cache, you will get about 458,000,000 results, and each one of them comes with a link to a live page and a page in Google Cache.
Google keeps Google Cache regularly updated. If designers make changes to a site, they won’t show up in the Google Cache unless Google updates the snapshot of the website.
Why Is It Important to Cache Websites?
However, there are other culprits such as hackers, who intentionally mangle up information on sites, or unforeseen circumstances that result in fatal data errors.
Here are several reasons why it is important to cache sites.
Some site owners delete entire webpages, and users might need the information that was on these pages. Thanks to Google Cache, people can still access web pages that are long gone on the live website.
Improving Page Loading Speed Across The Internet
Serving the cached data to website visitors reduces the time between user requests and servers—this action results in faster loading times, which, for example, is important for improving your search rankings. If you’re using WordPress (like 35 % of all websites out there), you should check out these plugins to optimize loading time.
Also, a traffic surge can slow down server response times, thus significantly increasing the page loading speed. Sending cached data instead of a live web page is the best way to overcome this challenge and to maintain great user experience.
Google Cache can help bring back the entire site because it keeps all your web pages stored in a secure location. Of course, it still makes sense to make website backups on your own regularly. If you’re managing a lot of visual content, you should also consider using digital asset management (DAM) tools to organize all of your visual assets in one place.
When to Use Google Cache
There’s a time and a place for everything, so it’s best to understand when Google cache should be used. Here are a few scenarios where you’ll need to do this.
Accessing Geo-Blocked Content
Websites very often implement geo-restrictions for a variety of reasons. Google Cache knows no boundaries. People can access their favorite web content via Google Cache even if the original website can’t be accessed in the region in which they live. If you happen to be in this situation, you can use Google Cache to bypass geo-restrictions effortlessly.
Checking Last Crawling Dates
The results of your content efforts will reflect your websites ranking in search engine result pages (SERPs). However, making updates to your website and uploading new content doesn’t mean instant results. Google will first have to re-index your website. The only way to see when was the last time Google indexed your website is to use Google Cache. Google Search Console’s Index Coverage report has detailed reports on when they last crawled your pages, and if it has already been indexed.
Also, once you make changes resulting in a rich snippet, they won’t reflect how your website appears in SERPs unless Google re-indexes your website. You have to keep a close eye on the last indexing dates to know when your updates will show in SERPs.
Accessing Lost Content
Lost content is deleted content. Google Cache offers a convenient way of accessing it, which is good news for both site owners and users. If, in any case, your hosting provider fails at keeping your website backed up and it gets deleted due to server malfunction or hack, you can get it back intact from Google Cache.
The same applies to users who discover their favorite website is no longer up. Thanks to Google Cash, you can go back and explore your favorite content even if it no longer exists on the official website.
How to Access Cached Versions of a Website
Now that you know what Google Cache is, why it is important, and when to use it, it is time to learn how to access cached versions of a website. There are several ways to do it, and we’ll guide you through each option – step by step.
Access Cached Web Pages Directly via Google
You can access all indexed web pages directly from Google. It’s by far the most convenient way to do it. You type the search query in Google’s search box and go to search results. To directly search for websites, your search query should be www.websitename.com. Find the website you are looking for in the search results, click on the little grey arrow right next to the search result, and choose Cached.
Once you click Cached Google will serve you with the latest version of the website indexed by Googlebot.
You have the option to choose from the three types of cached web page views – Full version, Text-only version, and View Source.
If you click on Full version, you will be able to see a rendered view of the cached page. The Text-only version excludes the CSS and displays the web page without any images, while View source allows you to see HTML code picked up by Googlebot.
Use Google Chrome Browser
You can access Google Cache directly from the Google Chrome web browser. Open Google Chrome and type the following address cache:www.websitename.com.
This action enables you to directly access cached versions of your favorite websites or your own website without having to go through search results.
Use Google Chrome Plugins
There are several Google Chrome plugins, such as Web Cache Viewer, that can enable you to access cached versions of webpages on the go. First, you have to add it to Chrome. It’s straightforward. All you have to do is click Add to Chrome.
While browsing, you can right-click anywhere on the web page and choose Web Cache Viewer > Google Cache Archive to view the latest version of the page indexed by Google.
Explore Different Web Archives
This might hit you as a surprise, but Google is not the only entity out there archiving web pages. Various web archiving initiatives around the globe are currently doing the same. They may not be as consistent with updates and crawling as Google, but they can still prove valuable as valuable resources when you need to access deleted or geo-blocked web page content.
There are dozens of web archiving initiatives, and we are unable to list them all out here. Here are a few further examples:
- EU web archive
- Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
- End of Term Web Archive
Google Cache is a powerful resource to have at your disposal. It can help you access deleted content, bypass geo-restrictions, use indexed pages as a backup for your website, or keep your marketing, content, and SEO efforts in check. As you can see, there are also other web archiving initiatives beside Google Cache that you can use as well.