Today we pushed live the latest version of the LinkRisk algorithm, this is a major update for us and we are hugely excited to get it launched onto the public side of LinkRisk after significant testing on our sandbox environment.

As always we like to name our ‘LinkRisk Dances’ after someone in the industry and this time we have chosen to name this our ‘Grehan’ update after Mike Grehan of ClickZ. Mike has always been a great influence on me and gave me my first opportunity at speaking to the SEO community many years ago at SES London. Mike has always been someone who I have turned to for his insight and his ability to define the direction we are headed as an industry.


This update is a big step for us and represents a big change in the infrastructure we use to gather the signals we need to score your links.

Some of the major changes to the algorithm include: –


After significant testing we are now treating 302 redirections in the same way as we treat 301 redirections.

Up until now we scored all 302 redirected links as LinkRisk 500 (Neutral) on the understanding that 302’s do not pass PageRank and therefore should not be risky for your site. Because we have seen so many 302’s given as examples of unnatural links in reconsideration request denials we have decided that we will now score 302’s in the same way as we score 301’s (We show you the redirecting domain but take most of our risk signals from the page redirected to rather than the redirecting page).

Signals amplification

We now have an even better way to understand the history of the site and we use that knowledge to ‘dial up’ the risk of a site and amplify its signals if we know its prior history is indicative of risk.

Link location

We have now started to look very carefully at the place on the page where the link actually sits. For example, if we see a link sitting within a blogroll and on every page of a site that we already have enough signals to suspect the algorithm is likely to push that more towards suspect or beyond.

Increased sensitivity to SEO tactics

We already detect and score based on known SEO tactics now disliked by Google but we have increased the scope of this detection in line with what we see Google acting upon within the half billion+ links we have scored so far. In the thousands of profiles we have run we often have direct input with customers on what the outcome of their cleanup and penalty removal effort has been and this has allowed us to see common areas that Google has marked as unnatural in their response.

Infrastructure improvements

We have also changed the back end infrastructure again as we grow to allow us to be even more granular in how we combine our rules together and how we gather the signals from the sites we crawl. This is an ongoing process and one we continue to invest heavily in. LinkRisk now has hundreds of servers and we continue to invest and grow our team to maintain that pace.


This latest update will now be live for all new profiles run after this post goes live and for any rescans done on existing profiles.

Now I couldn’t finish our LinkRisk ‘Grehan’ post without two pictures of Mike doing what Mike does best: –

Running the BlackHat / WhiteHat session at SES San Francisco, pictured here with the legend that is Matt McGowan 🙂

Pic ‘borrowed’ from the excellent

And finally Mike in his natural habitat, holding a wine and giving advice

Cheers 🙂