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What effect does turning off caching in all browsers have on SEO?

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It slows down your page loading speed which can potentially be a negative ranking signal.

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    Allowing caching isn't going to help first time visitors. Google cares about the experience of users coming from search (who are likely visiting your site for the first time). Caching will have minimal impact on site speed as measured for SEO impact. – Stephen Ostermiller Mar 12 '15 at 14:34
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    I think Google cares about page speed at all times, more than just when users come from search. And assets like CSS, JavaScript, and images all benefit after that initial page load. So if we're going to look at this from the point of view of Google wanting users to have a positive experience when coming from search, besides the initial page load, caching will help create that experience. – John Conde Mar 12 '15 at 15:03
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Turning off browser caching can be important for:

  • Security (so that pages can't be found in browser cache)
  • Accurate site stats (so that you can count each visit to a page)

I've worked with big sites that get lots of search engine referrals and don't allow page caching. It is very possible to have great rankings even without allowing browser caching.

I would recommend allowing supporting page resources such as JavaScript, CSS, and images to be cached. They typically don't contain sensitive information and don't need to be tracked accurately. Allowing these resources to be cached can dramatically improve the percieved performance of subsequent page views.

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Here's a one-word answer: BAD.

If no browser made use of a cache, then anytime a user requests a page, the browser would fetch it from the server and that fetch causes the server to run a bit slower because its an extra task it (the server) has to do along with other things that are running on it (such as email, etc). If millions of people requested pages this way within seconds, then the speed will be a-lot slower because the server could only handle so many requests at a time and the users in excess of that number will either wait a long time or receive some sort of error page (usually a timeout page).

The only time I would suggest not using any cache is if the page is supposed to change very frequently. for example, if you made a php version of a page that displays the current time on the screen (which IMO javascript is better for that).

Also, you should take a look at webpagetest.org.

And make a page with good caching, and make a page without caching, then run both those pages in the test and you will notice big differences. You'll even see timings of how long multiple requests take as well as an image-based slideshow of the page loading in action.

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