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SEO is in a constant state of change so up-to-date data is important. Forums can be interesting places to visit although much of the conversation is as much rumour as fact. There are several discussions taking place centered on SEO on what is in store for 2010 and beyond.

Google is said to be working on the biggest overhaul in search algorithms ever. So what changes are the forums expecting? Since Google’s algorithms use around 200 variables and since no one really knows what these variables are – everything is guesswork until proven otherwise.

Google has raised issues such as page load times and duplicate content over the last 12 months. Does this mean that duplicate content will resurface as an issue and will page load times become a ranking factor? They are both areas that can be cleaned up, particularly with Google’s canonical tag and some site code cleaning. There is no big deal there.

There has been some discussion in the area of inbound links and whether or not they will maintain their value. The consensus appears to be that whilst they won’t lose their value as an SEO factor, other factors may be used too that could outweigh those links.

Google trolls social media sites and the suggestion now is that web references will become the major authority variable. If your name, your site’s name, or your brand or your product is regularly talked about on social sites, this could provide some authority in itself. If your name or site is linked to products, brands or your keywords – it could serve to reinforce that connection.

An example of this could be: site A has thousands of inbound links, a lot of content (much of it from article directories) yet very little mention on social sites. Site B may not have as many inbound links, has unique content and has been mentioned frequently on social sites. Which site is likely to gain the better ranking? Under current methodologies, probably site A. But if web references are considered, then site B could be promoted. All the more reason to include social media marketing in your SEO plans for 2010.

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