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Google Text Cache: The best SEO tool you’ve never heard of

I often tell people that enterprise-level SEO if often more about sales than it is about technical implementation. Why? Because when dealing with large corporations, you must often convince one or more non-technical, executive-level decision makers to make the SEO-related changes you’re recommending. And often times, those changes require significant resource allocation (both in terms of money and employee/contractor hours).

This becomes a particularly daunting task when trying to explain how a particular coding methodology (Javascript, Flash, etc) is preventing Google from spidering page content and those all-important internal links.

There are a variety of different ways to “sell” this type of concept to an executive decision maker. You can paint an ROI picture, by showing how the implementation will lead to increased traffic/conversion and how that increase translates into incremental revenue. You can provide a detailed audit filled with technical specifications and recommendations explaining what the issue is.

Or, you can just bust out the old Google Text Cache.

I find that Google’s text cache option is one of the most powerful tools for “selling” SEO recommendations because it’s a great example of a “picture being worth a thousand words.” When coupled with a snapshot of Google’s standard cache snapshot, the text cache snapshot will give even the most technically unsavvy executive a clear and concise point of view on what’s wrong. It’s basically a window into the soul of Googlebot.

Here’s a simple example:

I have an image-based call-to-action on the top-right corner of this blog, which is used to refer potential clients to lead forms that I’ve created for the purpose of generating sales leads for my agency. The links contained within the images in that area of my site are not spidered Google. If I were trying to convince a decision-maker of the need to provide a secondary navigation element that is spiderable, I could go the ROI route or provide an in-depth technical explanation, or I could just show them this…

Google Standard Cache Snapshot (Notice the “Need Social Media Help…” box below)

hugoguzman.com google regular cache

Google Text Cache Snapshot (box is gone, links are gone)

hugoguzman.com google text cache

I’m only showing a snippet of the full snapshots for the sake of brevity, but trust me when I tell you (or go check it out for yourself) the contrast is obvious. The links within that call-to-action are nowhere to be found.

And mind you, this is a very subtle example. I’ve performed this type of “flash audit” for prospective clients, showing them how their fancy Flash-based site – filled with detailed copy and a variety of navigation links – is actually a blank page in Google’s eyes.

This is powerful and persuasive stuff.

Try it the next time you’re in a position to convince someone of the need for a change to an existing site/page (particularly when dealing with coding conventions like Javascript and Flash). I think you’ll be happy with the results.

And just in case you’re not sure how to find the Google text cache, here are some simple instructions:

  1. Perform a search for the website/page in question (ex: hugoguzman.com) in Google.com
  2. Click on the little blue “Cached” link at the bottom right of the site/page result
  3. When the standard cache snapshot appears, look for the little blue “Text-only version” link at the far right of the screen (you can see it in my first screenshot above)

P.S. Special thanks to Jill Whalen from High Rankings for turning me onto this many years ago.

P.P.S. Google text cache does not differentiate between do-follow and no-follow links.

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