I am monitoring the cached version of the main page of one of my sites. I have noticed something strange.

Obviously, the cached pages is displayed with the latest CSS file. Yet, the page content is quite oudated.

How come? Is there anything I can do about it or should I just wait?


Google Caches only HTML content

I believe that Google only caches the HTML content and additional files like JS/CSS/Images are still required to display the cache correctly. If you was to rename an image or css file completely you should notice that cache alters as well. But you can't change the HTML Content no mater what you do until they refresh their system.

A quick test

A quick test on this theory would be to quickly rename your CSS file breaking it temporary and quickly refresh the cache page and see the result. CTRL+F5 (Hard Refresh).

Don't Worry About Google Cache

I wouldn't concern yourself to much on the Google Cache its not really important, it's useful for using when sites are down or when deletions occur you can recover a lot of the HTML data. In terms of rankings, no effect whats so ever.

Please Note:

Cached: Google crawls the web and takes snapshots of each page. When you click Cached, you'll see the webpage as it looked when we last indexed it.

The above snippet from the Google cache link may imply that its when your page was last indexed this is simply untrue, the cache service Google offer is often days behind the algorithms itself. And a prime example of this is when you post something in your blog or create another page on your site your often see that your page is indeed indexed yet there is NO CACHE PAGED - Which is a clear indication that the cache system is not real time as the algorithms.

  • I disagree, Google explicitely says that it uses the cache version for indexing. In my case, I have removed a keyword issue, which impacts the indexing, and therefore ranking. Feb 16 '13 at 20:55
  • Please could you link me the source where it explicitly says that Google uses Google Cache for indexing… Since Google often indexes pages before Google cache and the fact that Google cache is many days behind the everyday algorithms I find this hard to believe. I think you have read wrongly unless you can prove me otherwise and then I’ll eat my shorts. Feb 16 '13 at 20:59
  • Here it is: google.com/intl/en/help/features_list.html#cached -> It says: If you click on the "Cached" link, you will see the web page as it looked when we indexed it. Feb 16 '13 at 21:10
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    Updated my answer, its simply not true. The cache is not real time. Feb 16 '13 at 21:13
  • A prime example displaying that this simply is not true… google.co.uk/… notice how the page is indexed yet no cache? Cache is not real time Feb 16 '13 at 21:15

I have noticed that by adding a proper lastmod tag for the corresponding page in my sitemap.xml (which is registered in my robots.txt) and by updating it when the page was modified, the cache has been updated correctly after some days. I also see the impact in Google Webmaster.

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