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Go with the Flow: Citation Flow Versus Trust Flow and How to Improve Them Both

Men and women have been trying to understand each other since the beginning of time.

You’d think that after so many years, we’d finally get the hang of it.

But today, there are over 100,000 books on Amazon under the category of “Relationships.”

Over 36,000 of those books have four or five star ratings, with hundreds and even thousands of reader reviews.

So, even though men and women have known about each other since the first humans walked the earth, we still need help understanding each other.

Do you feel like you still need help understanding Majestic’s Flow Metrics?

The original announcement from Majestic about its new metrics came in May of 2012.

Almost six years have passed since then, but many digital marketers still have a hard time understanding what exactly these metrics are, how they work and how to improve them.

If this is you, don’t feel like a minority!

I didn’t understand Flow Metrics at all until they were properly explained to me. Now, I’d like to take some time to explain them to you.

So, what are Citation Flow and Trust Flow? What are the differences between them? And how can you make the best use of these metrics on your website?

Let’s find out!

Go with the Flow: Citation Flow Versus Trust Flow and How to Improve Them Both

Citation Flow, according to Majestic, measures the equity or power of a website or link. It’s a score between 0-100 that gives you an idea of how influential a link will be based on how many links are coming into it.

This metric replaced Majestic’s old ACRank, and is based on better mathematical logic than that metric was.

Trust Flow is also a score from 0-100. This score focuses on link quality based on trusted seed sites that Majestic collected after scouring the web for trustworthy domains.

When a link is closely related to one of these trusted seed sites, it gets a higher Trust Flow score.

How Does Citation Flow Differ from Trust Flow?

Both Citation Flow and Trust Flow are scores between 0-100. Both of them relate to links.

So, what exactly makes Citation Flow and Trust Flow different?

Let’s look carefully at the definitions above.

The Citation Flow score is based purely on the amount of links coming into a URL. This has nothing to do with quality.

On the opposite side, Trust Flow is all about quality, focusing on how “trustworthy” your website is based on the trustworthiness of the websites and URLs pointing back to you.

Put simply, Citation Flow measures influence based on quantity, while Trust Flow measures influence based on quality.

What’s Better: Citation Flow or Trust Flow?

It’s very common for a website to have a higher Citation Flow than Trust Flow. Of course, this will depend on your own backlink profile, and the quality versus quantity of backlinks coming in to your site.

As we mentioned above, having a higher Trust Flow score means that your website has more authority based on better quality backlinks.

When you get more quality backlinks, Trust Flow will increase.

But remember: Since Citation Flow is based on quantity, getting more backlinks will automatically increase Citation Flow too!

In short, the goal would be to get a higher Trust Flow score. When you do this, your Citation Flow score will increase naturally.

Getting a Deeper View with Topical Trust Flow

That’s right: We just added another metric into the mix.

Topical Trust Flow allows you to see trust within a certain niche. Majestic announced this addition to their Flow Metrics in 2014, boasting that they had actually categorized the entire web.

Also scored from 0-100, Topical Trust Flow not only measures the authority of a domain within a certain niche. It actually goes down to a page level, showing you exactly how much authority that particular page or URL has based on almost 1,000 different categories.

This allows you to:

  • See your own authority in your niche
  • Find your strongest pages
  • Determine which are your strongest backlinks
  • Find the best pages from around the web to get backlinks to your site
  • Compare how well your competition is doing within your niche

With Topical Trust Flow added to the mix of Majestic’s Flow Metrics, you can see a complete view of authority and influence for any link or domain.

But, how can you use these metrics to your advantage and improve them on your own website?

5 Steps to Improve Flow Metrics on Your Site

1. Improve Your Internal Linking Strategy

It’s easy to be so concerned about external links that we forget about internal links.

But don’t forget: Majestic’s Flow Metrics flow through internal links as well.

If you have a very strong homepage, that can significantly influence the other pages of your website, helping increase their Flow Metrics too.

The best way to start improving your internal linking is to create lots of great content. Why? Because you want your internal links to be natural, as well as useful for the reader.

Linking out to relevant content within your own website will help distribute page authority and improve Flow Metrics within your website.

When linking internally, try not to over-optimize your anchor text, and always use “follow” links.

2. Find High Trust Flow Sites

We mentioned above that focusing on increasing your Trust Flow score will help your Citation Flow automatically.

So how do you increase your Trust Flow score? By getting high Trust Flow sites to link to you.

Using the Monitor Backlinks Free Backlink Checker, you can check the Trust Flow of any site within seconds by simply entering its URL, showing you exactly which websites are truly worthwhile pursuing in your backlinking strategy.

citation-flow

3. Analyze Those Sites to Find Other High Trust Flow Sites

To really get into your analysis, you’ll need to use the full Monitor Backlinks tool. You can register for a month-long free trial to get access to all the premium features you need to analyze those high Trust Flow sites and their metrics.

Once you’ve found high Trust Flow sites that you want to look into more, add them to your “Competitors” tab.

citation-flow

Once all the data has been pulled (this can take up to 24 hours), just click on the site to see a full list of their backlinks.

And you know what metrics you’ll see in that list? You guessed it: Majestic’s Flow Metrics!

In other words, you’ll be able to quickly measure and compare flow metrics, and find other high Trust Flow websites that are currently linking to the first high Trust Flow site you found.

Keep following this pattern to find a whole list of high Trust Flow sites to add to your link building strategy!

4. Align Topical Trust Flow to Your Niche

Don’t forget about this important metric.

Once you have that list of high Trust Flow sites, you want to make sure that their trust aligns with the right niche before you take any further steps with them.

You can do this by finding out which niches commonly link to you, and then making sure the high Trust Flow sites you’re pursuing are in the same or similar niches to the rest of your link profile.

Under the “Backlinks” tab in Monitor Backlinks, you’ll see every link pointing back to your site along with all those essential metrics of each one.

You can see the category that Majestic has placed each link into listed directly underneath that link’s Trust Flow score.

citation-flow

This will show you which categories and niches you get most of your backlinks from.

You can even filter your backlinks by the Majestic Topic, making it easy to find the topics that relate most directly to your website’s niche.

citation-flow

This will help you narrow down that list to find the backlinking opportunities which will help your website’s Trust Flow the most!

5. Reach Out for Backlinks

This may be the last step, but it’s certainly not the easiest.

Managing your backlink outreach is crucial to creating a solid backlink profile for your website. However, your first step does not involve contacting people. It involves improving your own website.

If you want people to link to your website, you must have something worth linking to. For this reason, improving and expanding your website’s content is the first step towards reaching out for backlinks.

Create content that provides value and is relevant to your niche, and getting backlinks will be much more feasible.

Once your website is full of exciting content, it’s time to reach out. With your list of backlinking opportunities at hand, find out who owns each website with a tool like Hunter, and send them a friendly email.

Asking for a backlink is always easier when you can establish a relationship. So, make sure to be yourself! Make friends with those who have a high Trust Flow, and you’ll find it easier to generate new backlinks that increase your own Flow Metrics.

These suggestions may seem time-consuming.

That’s because they are.

However, putting forth the effort to create better content and build relationships before asking for backlinks will pay off in the end with a better backlink profile and higher Flow Metrics for your website.

Citation Flow, Trust Flow and Topical Trust Flow: More Powerful Together

People don’t have to choose whether men or women are “better.”

So, do we really have to choose which of Majestic’s Flow Metrics is the best?

In short, no.

Citation Flow, Trust Flow and Topical Trust Flow are not three separate metrics working independently of each other.

Instead, all three metrics work in unison to create Majestic’s Flow Metric algorithm.

Just like people (both men and women) work better as a group, so Majestic’s Flow Metrics work better when viewed together.

If you want to create real value for your website, don’t just worry about Citation Flow or Trust Flow. Instead, use Monitor Backlinks to check the Flow Metrics of your website, your competitors’ websites and your potential backlinkers’ websites.

Then you’ll be getting the full value of Majestic’s Flow Metrics and can use them to the advantage of your own link profile.

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