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Google Removes Cache Link in Search Results

Google recently decided that links allowing users to view cached versions of webpages from the search results were no longer necessary, so they have been removed.

The cached page is the copy of the website page that Google holds in its database, having been visited and copied by their ‘spider’ or ‘bot’ when collecting available information on the web. The cached page is often a recent copy of the page, but in some cases it could be from several weeks or months ago, and may therefore be outdated compared to the ‘live’ version available on the website.

Technological progress is stated as the main reason for this change. Cached links used to be a crucial workaround for accessing web pages when websites failed to load (due to slow network speeds or other issues). But with today’s high-speed internet, these connection issues almost never happen.

Viewing the cached page could also be a way of finding information that was expected on a page – such as from the search results – but can’t be seen on the live website since the page may have been updated since the cache was taken. However, Google believes that users now rarely need to access cached versions of pages (which used to be seen by clicking the three dots to go to the ‘About this result’ panel).

If it’s necessary to check cached versions of your own website’s pages, it’s best to use the URL Inspection tool in Google Search Console. Enter the URL, run the live test, click on the ‘View tested page’, and choose ‘Screenshot’.

If you need to see a cached copy of another website’s page, that can be seen on the Web Archive. Google says it may eventually add cache links in that ‘About this result’ panel to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.

While the cache is not a good use for debugging SEO issues, it has become a defacto tool for many SEOs and searchers over the years, but as Google decided to remove it it’s now necessary to find alternatives, such as directly using the useful Wayback Machine, or the free Google Cache Checker Tool by just entering any URL to see the analysed page exactly as Googlebot sees it.

If you want to know more about how the removal of the cached links from the panel can impact your business, please get in touch.