After the latest PR update at Google and MSN’s beta search going live, there is one thing for certain in 2005: the world of search is in for some major changes. There has been growing speculation around the SEO world that reciprocal linking is a thing of the past. Rumors are abound that PR means less and less, if anything. Bill Gates came out of his cave to say that “Today’s search is nothing” and that it won’t be that way for long. There are quiet rumblings in the SEO back alleys of a new, state-of- the-art search engine currently indexing the internet. Websites are dropping off the face of the planet. And we’re all left to sit here and put together the pieces. So what is in store for 2005? 1) Reciprocal links, while not becoming totally dead, are decreasing in value, and there will most likely be an algorithm update to lessen their importance. The original thought process behind the importance of a link was that it was seen as a “vote” for the linked-to site. Now that reciprocal links are everywhere, it is hardly a great way to count “votes” for a website. Reciprocal linking will continue around the internet, although the amount of people who try to get away with one-way links (by never getting back to you once you’ve added their link) will increase significantly. This will, of course, be an attempt to acquire one-way links, which brings us to our next subject…. 2) One-way links and triangle linking, though already quite popular, should explode over the course of 2005. Both are much harder to control and acquire, which makes Google happy. The triangle link “ploy” makes links look like one-way links even though “Site A” is returning the favor to “Site B” through “Site C”. There will be attempts to sell triangle linking programs and systems by SEO companies, however, the complexity, difficulty and time involved in this scheme will produce ridiculous prices. 3) What this about a new search engine that is going to index every site on the internet, EVERY 10 seconds? Become.com has turned a few heads with it’s claims. Site owners have reported Become Bots spidering “like crazy”. It’s all quite hush, hush, however and you need to have an invite in order to test it out. It should be interesting to see what they’re capable of if and when they decide to go live. I’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s a household name by this time next year. 4) MSN will scrap the “beta” tag on February 1st from it’s sparkling new search engine, which is currently live at search.msn.com and Bill Gates thinks it will rival Google. There is a lot of debate over this issue, but there is no denying that it is far better than the old chugger they were using before. Love him or hate him, Gates has most likely given a hard right to the chin of Yahoo!, which seems to be suffering from a magnitude of quality problems. MSN will be second to Google in total searches in 2005. 5) PR still has importance. However, it is also decreasing in value. PR is only based on the quantity and quality of links (both inbound and outbound) from the given web page. The most obvious reasoning for the declining importance theory is due to the fact that on any given search on Google, the PR of each page seems to have barely any correlation with it’s place in the rankings. For all you PR lovers out there, hold on to your toolbar’s tight, because this could be a bumpy ride.