Alan Rabinowitz started SEO in the early days of Google and is the CEO of a company called SEO Image. It started out trying to figure out how to get his art website to rank well in the search engines. He actually read many of the tutorials by Jill Whalen and Bruce Clay in the early days of search engine optimization.
We talked briefly about content and links, and how links used to be king, but now content is king. But content that gets links is very good these days. We also talk a little about the beginnings of the conferences and meet different personalities from there. The focus of his company is on SEO and Online Reputation Management (ORM). We spoke briefly about the impact COVID-19 is having on its business and how it differs by industry and how companies are adapting.
Does Google count unfollowed links?
We then started a more in-depth discussion of links, specifically the nofollow attribute and whether it matters. He basically said that unfollowed links relay signals and have for a while. He accused Google of nofollowing value through links and because of that, Google had to back down. He just doesn't think nofollow makes any difference to the leaderboard these days. He said rel sponsored and rel ugc just didn't start and very few add these attributes to their links. In short, he thinks there is more to the story than what Google tells us about nofollow. Heck, he even said affiliate links are counted in the algorithm too.
We then had a quick chat about how the old linking methods were perfectly fine, and now it's considered black hat. We talked about how Google is now handling bad links compared to before.
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Forum discussion on YouTube.