You could say the internet is just full of hoarders… but in a good way. If you have been on the internet at all (which we’re guessing is a yes) you have probably heard the word ‘Cache’ or ‘Cashing’ thrown around. But what does it mean, how is it used and why should digital marketers care? Here is the ‘What’, ‘How’, and ‘Why’ behind ‘Cache’ or ‘Cashing’.
WHAT IS CACHE?
In the very simplest of definitions, the cache is a snapshot of a web page that Google creates and stores after they have indexed a page. When pages are indexed, they are categorized and filed within Google’s indexers, but they do not actively search through millions of web pages every time that page is called up. Instead, the snapshot of that page is searched, since it is easier to access. This is helpful to track user activity through the use of tags like Choozle’s Smart Tag Container.
WHERE CAN CACHE BE SEEN?
Technically, cache exists in two ways: as an image of a web page and as a “text-only” version of a page’s content. It is possible to see either one of these by searching on Google and examining the search results. Below the active link to a page, there is another URL in green. When this is clicked on, it gives a person the option to see this cached, image version of the page. This is the most recent snapshot that Google has stored. When the page is viewed there is a note stating “…the website may have been changed, but as of the date noted, this was the most current cache…” Within that note will also be a link to a text-only version of the cache, which is actually of much greater importance when it comes to SEO.
WHY DO WE HAVE CACHE?
There are two main reasons that web caches are used:
Reduce time delay: Because your computer has a version of the site already stored, it takes less time for it to get the representation and display it.
Reduce network traffic: Because representations are reused, it reduces the amount of bandwidth used by a client. This saves money if the client is paying for traffic, and keeps their bandwidth requirements lower and more manageable.
WHY IS CACHE IMPORTANT TO DIGITAL ADVERTISING?
The text-only version of page cache is important for digital advertising as it provides a scaled-down version of pure site content—minus design elements, media files and everything else. Viewing this provides one with an idea as to what keywords and content indexers are actually being seen, and what elements of the page are meaningless to a search. The text version is what Google reads when it indexes, so content must be created with this in mind and using keywords in the most advantageous ways. Alt-text keywords are helpful at times, but if the actual cached page text does not contain enough quality content, with appropriately used keywords, indexers will not find enough relevance to give a page priority.