Cache Date as the New Google PageRank

Given Google's reliance on core domain authority and displaying outdated PageRank scores, cache date is a much better measure of the authority of a particular page or site than PageRank is.

What Google frequently visits (and spends significant resources to keep updated) is what they consider important.

If a site can throw up a bunch of new pages and see them in the index right away that is a much better indication of trust than just the raw PageRank score. Plus the site can recoup its costs much faster than a site stuck in the crawling sandbox. This is especially important consideration if you are in a news related field, as sites that are quickly indexed rank for the new ideas while they are spreading, and enjoy many self reinforcing links due to automated content and the laziness of journalists, bloggers, and other webmasters.

Jim Boykin has a free tool to check the cache date of a page or site. It will also show how recently other pages linked to from that page have been cached.

Published: January 12, 2007 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


April 21, 2007 - 10:16am

My little guesthouse website was horrible when I inherited it. It hadn't been changed for years in any way.

I started making changes on the home page- the first was to load a new header image, which was re-sized to the old one, I saw this and fixed it within perhaps two minutes.

Google cached it within the two minutes. Very impressive if a little unlucky. That was March 5th, and despite a completely new content and design it hasn't been back since.

Other pages were also cached slightly after initial alterations, but again haven't since further more substantial changes.

One sub-page that hasn't been updated was cached on the 9th April, by-passing the home and higher pages completely.

Thoughts, tips, explanations??

January 20, 2007 - 10:19am

I have been watching the Google cache on some of my older site and I seem to have a correlation between more recent the cache the more visitors I am receiving.

... or is it that Im reading too much into it.


January 12, 2007 - 7:59am

That's an excellent point, but is it useful from an analysis standpoint? I can see where it would give you an idea on your own site, but is there a way to analyze the competition to figure out when content was uploaded and when it was cached? Or even knowing how often it was cached?

January 12, 2007 - 8:24am

I've always tracked chche dates of sites worked on as an indicator of when changes I made to a site would be updated in the index... I never thought of it as a "Trust Factor" , though it does make sense since sites that I work on that are more popular have their cache refreshed quicker.

Maybe you could attach a changealarm ( - to track when changes are made) to your compeittor's site and set up a spreadsheet of their cache dates(I would think Jim's tool would come in handy for this) and compare.

Spellcheck is for suckers.. or lazy people like me!

January 12, 2007 - 9:24am

Good point Aaron, but I'd include the number of pages in the main index as an indicator of trust, not just cache dates.

January 12, 2007 - 10:10am

The graph of visitors from Google on one new site of mine has exactly the same shape as the graph of pages crawled per day shown in Webmaster Central.

When the pages got crawled more the traffic jumped up as well.

January 12, 2007 - 11:44am

I have noticed that my pagerank has gone down a little but the inbound links that google admits too has gone up. I think that they have raised the bar due to the amount of link companies that are selling links. We will have to keep looking with anticipation. dont you love the SEO industry ! Its always moving on and keeps you on your toes.

January 12, 2007 - 11:48am

While there's a point in checking caching speed for relatively less popular websites (when it is a week, a day or an hour to get indexed), it won't make a difference on larger websites (from PR 5-6 I suspect).

That being said, sometimes cache isn't updated for several reasons, away from links. Search for 'apple' and check how long ago the homepage was cached. Showed Jan 10 to me.

January 12, 2007 - 11:50am

Excellent insight!

Is this something you can build into the SEO for Firefox toolbar? Which I recommend everybody on using:

January 12, 2007 - 12:21pm

Well That is a good move and I have already downloded the SEO Firfox.One should be regular to do so.

January 12, 2007 - 12:28pm

Hi TheMadHatter
I was thinking of using cache date as a health check as an indication of the health of a site for one of the following 4 reasons:

  • general health of a site you own
  • general site of a health you are thinking of buying
  • general health of a site you have the ability to publish content on
  • trustworthiness of a link source

Hi Yuri
I think cache frequency is important even for larger sites if you are looking of them as monetization vehicals.

Hi Peter
I will ask the programmer to add a Google cache date checking option as well.

January 12, 2007 - 4:16pm

When using the tool for both my site and yours Aaron, I got nothing but "not cached" in the Cache Status column. I'm not sure how I find this information useful, considering the wealth of tools I have to tracking traffic and such.


February 7, 2007 - 7:13pm

I had a little go at testing the theory and wrote up a short post about it on my blog.

Seo Practices
January 12, 2007 - 5:34pm

I agree, the cache date give us a good idea of how important the site is to Google, I check this regularly on sites I am working on, it gives me ideas of the general health of the site.

January 12, 2007 - 5:59pm

thinking of buying

Yep. Last week I stumbled across a domain that used to rank decently in one of my niches. It was available and checking the links and cache was all that I needed to know before acquiring it. It gets crawled and cached no less than every two days.

January 12, 2007 - 6:05pm

is anyone else getting an error message trying to use the tool. Interesting article Aaron, I've been reading this site for a while thank you for all your insight.

January 12, 2007 - 7:51pm

Hmm... If site A has 20,000 poor quality links leading to it...

And if site B has 500 high quality links to it...

And if, by objective standards, site B has more relevant content leading to it...

Couldn't site A still get cached more frequently by virtue of the high inbound link count?

Just wondering if cache date is as relevant an indicator as you are suggesting.

January 12, 2007 - 7:56pm

Hi BostonScott
If a site has too many low quality links then it may actually go on reduced crawl status, with it being indexed rarely and less deeply.

Read this.

January 13, 2007 - 12:39am

Interesting, thanks for the tip.

January 14, 2007 - 8:10pm

After trying out the "cool caching tool", I discovered that our home page was cached 2 days ago, our main blog 1 day ago and our podcast today.

I wonder if there is a correlation there, such as number of RSS subscribers, or freshness of the content?

February 27, 2007 - 7:56am

I think Google make it up as they go along. I have a blogspot blog and the last cache date was Jan 7 even though it is updated almost daily and has been since October last year.

January 15, 2007 - 2:43am

Hi David
Fresher content tends to get updated more frequently, but honestly the difference between one day and two might just be that they are getting crawled at the same or similar rates but a day apart from one another.

As far as RSS subscribers go, if more people read your site then more people will probably link at it, and it will be trusted more.

Bob Gladstein
January 16, 2007 - 2:36am

I think that since pages that get updated often get crawled and cached more often, that's a much bigger factor than a given page's trust level. Obviously, a page that has little to no trust isn't going to get crawled often no matter how often it's updated, but apart from that, I'd have to say a recent cache date means that the page is updated often, and has been for long enough that the spider's schedule has been updated to accommodate it more than anything else.

January 16, 2007 - 2:59am

If you dig deeply through lower quality directories you will see a sharp decline in the refresh rate...with many of the pages having months between recaching.

Even rarely updated trusted pages they are usually cached at least once a month (at least right now).

January 16, 2007 - 7:29am

This tool is pretty useful, I started using it to compare the websites of my local competition. I wanted to see which ones were web savy and which were actually being crawled by google.

Thank you.

February 20, 2007 - 1:27pm

I remember last year I replaced a static site (PR5) with a CMS site. It took about 6-8 weeks for Google to see the changes.


Because the site had almost never been updated, Google didn't bother coming back. Even though it had good linkage, it was cached very infrequently.

I'm pretty sure Google looks at your history of updating on the site, not just TrustRank.

I could be wrong of course.

December 15, 2007 - 1:30am

For some reason google's cache of my site, switched to a cache of a site called If you have google toolbar and go to my site, and view the cache, you will see my issue. Can anyone contact me via email? if they have a clue how to fix this?

Sai Varun KN
July 17, 2013 - 1:25am

at what frequency of time does google updates the page rank?

July 17, 2013 - 2:23am

...the toolbar display updates about once every 3 months, but they do far more frequent updates internally in the calculations they use for determining relevancy. on newer pages they likely also use approximated estimations until they have done a deeper crawl, but that precise internal data isn't really reflected in the toolbar. The toolbar is perpetually out of date & only has 1 significant digit.

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