October 2, 2017
What is Google Cache? Google Cache is all of the pages that have been stored and remembered by Google and, thus, show in the search engine rank positions. Google will take a snapshot of every page it crawls and then cache it.
How will this help you?
By looking through Google Cache, you can easily find out all the pages that Google remembers from your site, by simply typing:
Example – site:yourwebsite.com
Once you do this, Google will bring up every page that has been cached from this domain and you can find out everything it remembers from your site. This will include all of the pages that you expect to be there, and also some that you may not expect. This means that you can go through the whole list of cached pages, and there may be pages that you do not want to be cached in Google’s rankings. If you have a WordPress site, it is often the case that pages will be indexed in Google’s cache that have automatically been created (like singular team pages) that you may not want to show in search engine rank positions.
Another reason for you needing to clean your website may be because there has been a large change on your site, which involved the removal of pages, and now Google has cached pages that are out-dated or irrelevant.
How do I solve this?
After studying what Google has cached from your website, you may be keen to clean it up and ensure that Google is only finding things that are relevant and beneficial to your site. There are a number of ways you may choose to get rid of the pages that you do not want to be cached by Google.
If you have a page that you cannot remove from your website, but it is appearing on the Google Cache unnecessarily, then you may want to make this a no-index page. This means Google will no longer cache the page and it will not appear in search engine rank positions.
To make a page no-index you will need to apply the following line of code in the
<head> section of your page:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This is showing the robots that are crawling your site to cache your pages that you do not want indexed, and the robots will ignore them. The pages will then no longer appear on search engines.
Submit to Google to remove
If you come across dead pages (404 pages) when you are searching the Google Cache, then you must act to get rid of them from the search engine rankings. This may happen for two reasons:
When you are searching through Google Cache, it is likely that you may come across pages that you do not want to be on your website at all. They may be outdated or maybe you were unaware of them. In this case, you should delete the unwanted pages from your site.
Google may have cached pages that you no longer have on your website. These will appear as 404 errors and, of course, this means you do not want them to appear in the search engine results because you would not want users being directed to a dead page.
If either of these two issues become apparent when you are looking through your Google Cache, then you need to make Google aware that these pages are no longer in use, so they will not be cached anymore. To do this you must;
- Go to your Webmaster Tools account;
- Select the appropriate property (the site you are clearing up);
- Go to Google Index > Remove URLs;
- Select ‘Temporarily hide’;
- Input the URL that is a 404 or a page you have just removed;
- Repeat until you have submitted all URLs.
After you have done this for all the desired pages, you should ‘fetch as Google’ in Webmaster Tools, and this will crawl your site again. Once finished, all the pages that you wished to be removed, should no longer show in Google’s cache.
What do I gain from this?
You may actually gain direct SEO benefits from carrying out this exercise, because it may lead to you removing pages that are lower quality which, as Rand Fishkin said on Moz’s Whiteboard Friday about ‘organic quality score,’ removing lower quality pages may lead to Google to better view your high quality pages.
But the main benefit is user experience. This will make your site as clean as possible on Google, and should lead to your users never being led to a page that they shouldn’t be.
I am Matt Grant, I am a digital marketing executive for Next Pixel, a Web design and digital agency in Rotherham, U.K. I am a keen blog writer and my day-to-day tasks consist of managing SEO accounts for a variety of clients.