Display of the homepage of wayback machine, an Internet archive for website history

One of the cool tools used by SEO experts is the Wayback Machine. Though the Wayback Machine was not intended to optimize searches, it is an important tool for any SEO agency to review a website, boost its ranking, and improve the overall SEO strategy. The Wayback Machine is a significant internet archive tool that will let you view how the websites looked previously. Not only allowing you to see the previous version of the website, it stores the screenshots of webpages in its public database.

A Brief Summary on Wayback Machine’s Interface

The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library founded in 1996 to access more than 362 billion pages on the web freely. If you want to use the Wayback Machine, you must go to archive.org and type the URL you want to explore. It need not necessarily be the homepage as the Wayback Machine can find any webpage published on the net. You will obtain a calendar with a neat graph or visual elements as you enter the URL. It will showcase how often the URL was archived till today.

Ways to Improve Your SEO Strategy With the Wayback Machine

There are five ways to improve your SEO strategy with the Wayback Machine. They are:

Finding Legacy URLs

The most vital role of the Wayback Machine is to identify the historical URLs which have not been redirected. It collects all the information about the site from the beginning. This makes the Wayback Machine highly useful for tracing any site which has been around for a very long time. There are circumstances when stakeholders who have managed a particular website lost track of it without making use of SEO practices and shifted to another company. By using the Wayback Machine, it is possible to trace the legacy version of the site and its key contents.

Sometimes the structure of a website’s URL changes, and the owner forgets the old structure with time. This will cause a great problem when you want to recover data. With a rough idea of when you changed the structure and using the Wayback Machine, you can find all the details about the old structure and exactly when the change happened. Eventually, you can map out the older counterparts with the new URL. Thus, the Wayback Machine is of great help when the subfolder names in a site have been changed or its contents have been reorganized.

Discovering Previous Page Content

The website contents change over time. It can happen while:

  • Migrating the site
  • Highlighting various aspects of the product

Whenever there is a significant content change, there is an inherent risk associated with it. The Wayback Machine plays a major role here. It is beneficial to find the old contents that might have got deleted accidentally or lost. If your website loses its rank after a content change, you can use the Wayback Machine to trace the previous version. Once you restore the content to its original form, you will be able to regain the lost visibility.

 Illustration depicting a woman watching her website's rank increase in Google's search results page from atop a ranking dock.Troubleshooting

On a live website, the cached pages will contain all the information to explain the traffic shift. When the website’s content is contained within the cache, it is easy to identify the technical and structural changes. By comparing before and after images of the website and its differences, you should look for problems with:

  • Image usages
  • Internal linking
  • On-page meta
  • Portions added or deleted

Viewing Changes

We use the Wayback Machine to view website changes, and this is a well-known fact. By comparing the snapshots taken by the Wayback Machine, you can identify the changes in the appearance of the site on different dates. The Wayback Machine will sometimes not have many snapshots on less popular sites. Even during such circumstances, you will be able to identify the change with the dates. The unique ability of the Wayback Machine is that it comes to your rescue when you experience a drop in webpage ranking. By analysing the time when the drop occurred, you will be able to identify the change responsible for the negative impact on the ranking.

Identifying Old Robots.txt Files

The Wayback Machine checks how the robots.txt has transformed from the previous version. It is an excellent resource as it indicates everything it finds on a website, including the robots.txt files. The Wayback Machine detects crawlability and other similar technical issues. By examining and comparing data with the time and date, the Wayback Machine helps find the changes that have triggered the issue. This functionality is very useful when a site has migrated and if the robots.txt files have changed. With the Wayback Machine in hand, all you have to do is compare the snapshots and identify the culprit with regard to the time when the problem started. Another interesting piece of news is that the Wayback Machine is known to crawl many robots.txt files.

How Is the Wayback Machine an Indispensable Tool?

The Wayback Machine indicates the code source of the web pages through which you can view and retrieve the old code from the previous pages. It works great while viewing the past analytics code. If you are experiencing some unusualness with the numbers in the analytics account, it acts beneficially. You can search for the page’s URL in the Wayback Machine and select the snapshot and date. Then right-click to see the page source on that particular date. By doing so, you will be able to see the placement of the analytics code. You can check on the implementation of tags and find out whether they were done properly. However, this process is used to track events depending on how the website coding was done.

It is normal for sites in competitive spaces to frequently add and update content. By analysing the highest priority keywords, the competitors tend to make changes to their pages to boost their visibility. When it is hard to track those changes, the Wayback Machine will let you know the updates made by competitors on their content. Undoubtedly, it is a valuable piece of information while performing competitive analysis. Such changes will provide an editorial strategy to apply to your own webpage. The content differences are usually very difficult to determine as it requires a manual review. But with the Wayback Machine, it is possible to identify how frequently our competitors update the content. It will be of great use in the SERP landscape, where fresh content is essential to improve visibility.

The Takeaway

To wrap up, the Wayback Machine is an invaluable SEO toolkit that gains insights into competitor strategies. We live in a period where the web is constantly changing, and the Wayback Machine helps recover the lost information in a jiffy. Reach out to DSEO Chennai, a leading SEO agency to take your website places. We help your business gain the best attention with expert SEO services and exceptional digital marketing plans.

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I’m Eivine Renny, a content marketer who believes that words spell magic and trusts in the power of words above all! As a content marketer in the endless galaxy of contents, i can lend a helping hand in making your contents shine with a sparkle that captures attention!

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