The right way to View Cached Pages

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Cached pages are undoubtedly a useful tool when you come across a webpage that is performing poorly or is temporarily unavailable for some reason.

In the simplest case, Google crawls web pages and then creates raw HTML copies of them – a cached page. That way, you can view a website that is slow or unresponsive, and SEO pros can figure out indexing problems with a website.

What is a cached page?

A cached page is a backup of the raw HTML and contents of a page created at a specific point in time to be stored on a server and later retrieved.

For example, when Google crawls a web page, it takes a screenshot of that page and indexes the content for future reference. In addition, Google gives the date the page was last indexed on the cache page, meaning “This page is a snapshot of the page as it was viewed on February 20, 2020”.

If you’ve come across a page that is not responding, or if you want to make sure your website is indexed properly, read on to find out how cached pages can help you solve both of these problems.

How to view cached pages

  1. In the Google search box, enter the website or page you want to view.
  2. Click the down arrow next to the URL.
  3. Choose “Cached”.
  4. You will now see the cached page.
  5. Alternatively, you can enter the word “cache” before the URL of the website. ie “Cache: https: //examplesite.com”.

1. In the Google search box, enter the website or page you want to view. Click the down arrow next to the URL. Choose “Cached”.

Cached drop-down list under the arrow next to the SERP URL

2. You will now see the cached page.

Cached page with the message above that reads:

2. Alternatively, you can enter the word “cache” before the URL of the website. ie “Cache: https: //examplesite.com”.

Google search query with the following content: cache: https: //ww2.hm.com/en_us/index.html

It is important to note that the cache is that part of the website that is written in plain HTML – it doesn’t also store JavaScript. John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, checks this on his Twitter:

John Mueller's tweet reads: The cached page should be the HTML page only.  If the iframe is there, the browser can display it.  x-frame-options is one way to prevent this in modern browsers.

JavaScript content cannot normally be accessed through the cache. However, this does not mean that they have not been indexed. To check how a Google bot is displaying your website, use the Get & Render tool in Google Search Console instead.

Next, let’s examine how you can use Google Cache for website optimization.

How to use Google Cache

  1. Use Google Cache when you find yourself on a webpage that is slow or unresponsive.
  2. Use the Google Cache to check when a particular page was last visited by a Googlebot.
  3. Check how your website is indexed online.

1. Use Google Cache when you find yourself on a web page that is slow or unresponsive.

If you’re trying to find information on a website but the page seems unavailable (or slow), you can try switching to the Google Cache version. Of course, the page may not look the same aesthetically, but you can see the HTML from the last time the page was crawled by a Googlebot.

2. Use Google Cache to check when a specific page was last visited by a Googlebot.

If you want to know the last time a Googlebot visited a particular page, but you don’t have access to server logs, you can now see when the page was last visited by looking at the page’s cache version. It can be helpful to see when the last time the page was successfully accessed by a bot. If you’ve made changes that caused the page to stop responding, you may need to know what changes to undo.

3. Check how your website is indexed online.

You might be curious to see if your website is cached online. If it is not cached, there are a few possible reasons: First, you should check that the page’s source code does not contain the content = “noarchive” attribute. If the page is not indexable or cannot be crawled, it will not be cached. Alternatively, when a page is new, the cache may take some time to become available.

If it cannot be cached, it will still be visible online. However, if you want your site viewers to have the option to display them in a cached version when your site is slow or unresponsive, you should dig deeper to find out what the problem is.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2019 and has been updated for completeness.

SEO myths

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