Turns out, StumbleUpon is getting regular requests each week from people asking for it to remove links to their sites, people who are worried that being linked to from a popular and long-standing social media sharing site is somehow hurting them with Google. The linksanity sadly continues.
Every since Google stepped up its attack on bad links last year, in particular with its Penguin Update, there’s been panic in some quarters about getting links removed. But it’s not about removing all links. It’s about removing bad links, and I wouldn’t count StumbleUpon as one of the sites you should worry about.
StumbleUpon is an established, respected social media site. Its very nature is to let people share links with others, in a channel surfing approach.
That is a far different situation than obtaining links from “article sites” that often seem to have no other purpose but to let people obtain links. Those types of links, where they haven’t really been earned and exist mainly for the purposes of just having a link, those are the links Google has tended to target.
To understand more about this, and the idea of “easy” links versus “hard” ones that count, see my post from last year: Link Building Means Earning “Hard Links” Not “Easy Links”.
True, Google does want people hit by its Penguin Update to make an attempt to remove bad links. It doesn’t want them to just rely on the disavow link tool. But asking StumbleUpon to remove your link is a waste of time. I’d say. That’s the type of link you actually do want.
What’s Google’s ruling on this? It wouldn’t comment on StumbleUpon specifically, but Matt Cutts — who heads up Google’s web spam team — told me that people should use the disavow tool if they don’t get a response from a site they ask to remove a link.
As for StumbleUpon, it’s not inundated with these requests, characterizing them as a “handful” per week to me. But they’re really unnecessary. If you really don’t want your links on the site, I guess you can use the disavow tool. But I’d say put your effort into other areas.