The Internet Archive was founded in 1996 to “build an internet library” and offers a searchable collection of digital collections. Internet Achive’s Wayback Machine (launched in 2001) has archived web pages going back to 1996, enabling historical snapshots of the web. As ReadWriteWeb notes, the Wayback Machine has just been redesigned and relaunched with a nicer user interface, and more importantly, has been migrated to a new platform as a foundation for further improvements. (The new beta has been launched under a new domain: waybackmachine.org; the original version is still available at archive.org.)
Using Historical Views of the Web for SEO
The research and academic uses for historical views of the web are endless. But there are search engine optimization benefits as well. Did your shiny new domain used to host viagra spam and is thus on Google’s list of web sites that are naughty rather than nice? Google notes that this is one of the uses of its reconsideration request form: “if you recently purchased a domain that you think may have violated our guidelines before you owned it, you can use the reconsideration request form to let us know that you recently acquired the site and that it now adheres to the guidelines.”
Google’s Matt Cutts used the Wayback Machine during a site review panel at Pubcon in 2009, suggesting that site owners should review the history of domains they own or plan to purchase.
Some of the new features available in the new beta include a calendar view of the snapshots available and a sparklines-style trendline that lets you navigate through time.