The Wayback Machine is an Internet-based archive of the World Wide Web, launched in 2001 by the Internet Archive, a US non-profit organization. It’s a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.
Its goals include:
- offering permanent access for researchers, historians, and scholars,
- preserving the Internet’s legacy and cultural artifacts,
- providing value to the public.
The service enables users to see archived versions of web pages across time, which the archive calls a “three dimensional index”. The WayBack Machine is a free tool that can identify more than 362 billion URLs, and it can be used in many ways to improve your website’s search rankings.
If you are looking for ways to identify changes in your website’s traffic, the Wayback Machine could be a good place to start. The cached page from archive.org will load in your browser like any website except that it will have a header from Archive.org. Then you will be able to look for obvious changes in structure and content that may have lead to a change in search visibility.