Have you ever wanted to view an older version of a web page? Maybe there was something there that was removed, or maybe you just wanted to see the old visual design. Whatever the case, you may have thought you didn’t have a way to see what the page used to look like.

But as a matter of fact, there are ways to see older versions of pages — they’re called caches. If you view a cached web page, you can see all the old HTML from an earlier point in time. And to find a cached page, you can start by looking at Google.

Google caches web pages on a regular basis. And if you want to view a Google cached page, there are multiple ways to do so. But what are Google cached pages, and why might you want to view them? Moreover, how can you view them?

We’ll cover the answers to all those questions below, so read on for more information. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly — our email newsletter — to get more digital marketing tips from the agency with 775+ testimonials!

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What are Google cached pages?

Google cached web pages are essentially snapshots of website pages across time.

Take your website’s homepage. Google currently has the most recent version of that page cached. If you completely change your homepage’s look tomorrow, Google will soon cache that version as well — but the older cache will still exist.

By accessing the older cache, you could go back and see how your site looked before you changed it. And caches are more than just screenshots — they include the full HTML layout of the page, so you can still scroll through it and follow links.

There are three main types of cached pages:

  • Full version (exact snapshot of page)
  • Text-only version (no visual elements, just text)
  • Source code (raw code for the page)

You can access each of these types of caches depending on what you’re trying to view.

Why does Google cache web pages?

Google caches web pages as part of its indexing and ranking process. All the sites that show up in Google search results must first be indexed, requiring Google to scan through the entire site. When it does that, it creates caches. It creates a new cache every time it scans the site.

It uses the caches to determine what sort of content is on each website and how that website should rank in search results. If you change your website, Google must create a new cache to reevaluate the content.

Why might you want to view Google cached pages?

If you wanted to see the most recent cached version of a page rather than the live version of the site, you could do so. There are several reasons you might want to do that.

Here are three of the most common reasons for viewing a cached version of a page!

1. You’re experiencing issues on your site

The first potential reason for viewing a cached web page is that the live site is experiencing issues.

Maybe a site is loading too slowly for you. It takes far less time to pull up a cache than it does to generate a live site from scratch. So, if a site was taking a long time to load, you might prefer to simply use the cached version.

Or, maybe your site is experiencing content errors. In that case, you could pull up the source code cache to diagnose the problem.

2. The page you want is down

Another reason for preferring to view a cached page is that you simply can’t view the live version. Sometimes pages go down for maintenance or because of a technical issue, and if you want to visit one in that condition, you would need to use the cached version.

Bear in mind that in this scenario, you would be more or less limited to reading the page. If there was a form you wanted to fill out there, it wouldn’t work on the cached version.

3. You want to see a past version of a page

Finally, you might simply want to see what a page looked like in the past.

Maybe you recently updated your website, and you want to see how it looked before you changed it so you can compare. Or maybe you want to see what changes have been made to a competitor’s site lately.

In either of those cases, you could pull up the previous cache to see the difference.

How can you view Google cached pages?

Now that you know why you might want to view a Google cache, how can you go about doing that?

Here are two extremely simple methods you can use for viewing Google cached pages!

1. Via search results

The first way you can view a Google cached page is by finding the page in search results. Once you’ve done that, look at the top of the search result you want. To the right of the URL, you’ll see three dots in a vertical line. Click that button to open a pop-up on the page.

In the pop-up, you’ll see a button at the very bottom that says “Cached.” Click that button to view the most recent cached version of the page.

2. Via the address bar

The other way to see the most recent cache of a page is to use the URL, if you know it. Simply copy and paste the page’s URL into the address bar. Then go to the beginning and type “cached:” before it. So, if you were visiting amazon.com, you could simply type “cached:amazon.com.”

How else can you see a cached web page?

The two methods above allow you to see Google cached pages. But maybe you want to access a cached page another way — or maybe you want to go further back into the past, which Google doesn’t allow you to do. In that case, you can use one of the methods below!

Chrome extensions

One option you have for viewing cached pages is to use a Chrome extension like Web Cache Viewer. Web Cache Viewer will let you right-click on a link to open a cached version of the page, which you can do in either the Google Cache or in Wayback Machine.

Wayback Machine

If you want to go back further than just one cache, Wayback Machine is the tool for you. Created by the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine lets you input a URL to see all available snapshots of that page over time. You could see what a website looked like yesterday or in 1999!

Google cached pages FAQ

Here are some short answers to some of the most common questions about Google caching!

How do I view cached pages on Google?

You can view cached Google pages in two main ways — you can click the three vertical dots next to a search result and then select “Cached,” or you can type “cached:” before the URL in the address bar. 

What is stored in the Google cache?

The Google cache stores a snapshot of each webpage’s HTML. It keeps full, text-only, and source code versions of each cache.

How long does a cached page stay on Google?

Each cached page remains in Google for approximately 90 days before it gets replaced with a newer cache of the same page.

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The post What Are Google Cached Pages and How Can You View Them? appeared first on WebFX.

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