Many webmasters have yet to discover the hidden power that Google offers via allowing us to see their cache. When auditing a new site, this is one of the standard ways we can get a glimpse of how Google actually sees a site, and what the potential problems may be with on site SEO. As the web gets more and more image-centric, and videos and flash take up more and more real estate on major sites, it’s more important than ever that we remain aware of the current limitations of the Google search bots. No matter how cool your site may look, with all those bells and whistles, you won’t get found via organic search unless you think a little like Google. That’s why – for now at least – the Barefoot SEO site remains text heavy. Compared to many of our competitors, the site has something of a retro feel about it, focussing as we do on good old fashioned words. That’s because we understand how Google works and, until they get better at moving beyond the written word, we’re stuck with it!
Viewing your Site with Google Cache
The first thing to do is to type in:
At this point, you’ll see the option for a ‘text only’ version on the right hand side of your screen. This will show you exactly what the Google search bot is seeing when they check out your site. If it’s an image heavy site, there may be very little on there. In which case, do you wonder that you’re not getting much organic traffic?
Another factor worth inspecting is the cache date. The more often Google is crawling your site the more authoritative it is perceived to be. Ideally, you want the bot returning every day or two: much longer than this and there are signs you’re not considered as important as you might be. How do you get your site cached more often? Simple, publish more content and get stronger links.
Is Cache the New Page Rank?
With Google’s slightly old fashioned ‘page rank‘ now pretty much outdated in the opinion of most experts, cache date may well be one of the most reliable indicators of how Google might think of your site.
What Google frequently visits (and spends significant resources to keep updated) is what they consider important. Here’s a video from the esteemed Mr Cutts on the notion of caching.