This will be useful for those of you who are wondering whether Google has indexed your site, and what it looks like from the crawler’s point of view.
The feature I’m talking about is the cache feature.
The technical definition for cache memory is ‘a fast storage buffer in the central processing unit of a computer’. Basically, cache is storage and what this means is that Google stores each website it crawls.
Google takes a snapshot of each of the crawled pages and stores (caches) this version. As you enter a search word, notice that practically every search result offers a regular link and a ‘cached’ link.
Why is this useful?
This is useful in cases of internet congestion (if you are unable to access the current page), if a website is very slow to upload or if the owner is working on the page and subsequently making it unavailable. Remember, when you view a cached web page you are viewing that web page as it appeared during the crawlers last visit. It may be quite different in the present.
Also, when you visit a cached version of a website from the Google search, you will see this page with your keywords highlighted in different colors. This can make it easier for you to find the content you were searching for.
So how does this affect You?
The good news is you can see Google’s stored snapshot of your website. This is a great solution for those of you who are wondering if Google has indexed your Flash website, and how exactly it sees it.
To see a cached version of your website, enter your website’s URL with the word cache: before it in the Google search. For example: cache:http://www.seomywix.com. If your website comes up, this means Google has already indexed it.
Another way to see the cached version of your website is to search for it in Google and choose the ‘cached’ link instead of the regular title link.
You can also download Google’s nifty tool bar, a very useful device in general, and cache the page you’re looking at.
At the top of the cached page is a header reminding you that you may not be viewing the current version of the website. It also gives you the date on which the crawler indexed this page. This is a good way for you to find out when and how often Google’s crawler indexes your website.
One last piece of information on cache. Google will cache the first 101 kilobytes of text on your website, so if you have more than that (texts that is), don’t be surprised if you can’t retrieve it in the cached version of your website.