Preserving the Internet’s history from 1996 to present has been the work of the Internet Archive (Archive.org). They see the value of storing all the web sites and web pages with all the variations for their historical importance. Its like being able to see the notes famous speech writers used. Imagine the historical importance to Martin Luther King’s “I Had Dream..” speech notes. With his notes, you could see the evulotion of the ideas behind the speech. Well the Internet Archive’s Way Back Machine does exactly that. It gives people ability to see how sites evolved. You can search within the archive using a site URL and see each version of the site. For example you can see Google for example as it was when it first launched. The first cache of Google from Nov.11, 1998 looks like:
Welcome to Google
Google Search Engine Prototype
Might-work-some-of-the-time-prototype that is much more up to date.
Funny how things have changed.
As a web marketer you can use this online archive to see how your competitors sites have changed over time. Knowing how they tweaked their SEO efforts or marketing strategies can give insights on how to beat them in the rankings. I used the archive to help a client that got hacked. I was able to retrive a version of their site before the hack took place so that all their work wasn’t lost. (note: this is a good reason why hosting companies should do regular backups).