One of my favorite things to do here in this blog is to share fun and useful things that I find online. I’m not in the habit of accepting money for the reviews or links I share. In fact, apart from the occasional affiliate link (from Amazon, and always noted), I don’t benefit financially from sharing them.

Until recently I also didn’t think it was necessary to ask permission to share information. When you spend time online you grow accustomed to sharing links and pictures everywhere, from Facebook to Twitter, blogs to websites. You assume that companies not only won’t mind, but are happy to have their products and web stores shared and discussed.

So I was a bit surprised last week when I was contacted by a company requesting that I remove my blog’s links to their site. Recent changes at Google (and news of an update on the way) have had a big impact on some companies. This one was working with a consultant to “comply with changes in Google’s Quality Guidelines.” The consultant was recommending that they remove “anything that might even look like a paid link, whether it’s natural or not.” As requested, I immediately removed all links to their web store.

Though I was assured that this request had nothing to do with the quality of my blog, I was curious enough to contact the CEO of High Rankings, SEO expert Jill Whalen. Through our Twitter exchange, Ms. Whalen states that unless I have a “splog” (spam blog), or the links were paid, it isn’t common practice to request link removal.

Why am I telling you all of this?

If you are a regular reader, you will likely come across posts here that share products or services without any clickable links. While I will make every effort to provide another way for you to reach those sites, I apologize ahead of time for any inconvenience.

If you are a business and have noticed that I’m sharing links to your work or your site—and you don’t want me to share them—please contact me and let me know which links you would like me to remove. Please be assured that I have not created links to your site with the expectation of any compensation or reciprocation, but only to share with my readers.

I admit that I’m a bit concerned for companies who are removing all of the links—paid AND natural—pointing to their sites. Google’s rankings have long relied on the perceived popularity of a site, measured in part by the number of links to the site’s pages. My understanding of updates like Penguin is that Google is attempting to reduce the ranking of sites with artificially inflated and exaggerated importance based on paid links or those from link farms or splogs (as well as other black hat SEO techniques). Presumably, links from legitimate sites, blogs, and social media platforms will still boost a site’s ranking; what possible benefit could come from removing all of those links?

I will leave it to the experts to argue that point, but in the meantime I will continue to share as much as I can. As always, I will let you know if I am benefiting in any way from my posts (please read my disclosure policy for more details) and I am always available if you have any questions at all about my policies or posts.