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Using cached data, the page loads are very quick, usually under 0.01 seconds, but when this data needs to be updated on the fly, it can take between 1-20 seconds. Typically its 3-7 seconds. Unfortunately, its not feasible to preload and cache this data.
First of all, is that kind of page load time going to be a problem for spiders? Let's say pages with expired cache data load in an average of 5-6 seconds. I'm really only concerned about Googlebot and Inktomi/Slurp. If it would be a problem, would it be OK to serve a page containing the most recently cached data to those spiders?
I don't see a problem with it. Even a shadow spider would only see insignificant differences. Titles and headings would always be the same. Any thoughts? Am I taking a risk at all by doing that? I know Inktomi is known to send shadow spiders...would slight differences set off any cloaking flags?
Still, I'd think feeding the bots the cached pages makes sense -- there would be less chance of getting a server error indexed. I can't see how this would be considered a negative thing in the eyes of the search engines.