Citation and trust flow: understanding and usage

What is the Trust and Citation Flow and how can it be understood and interpreted to improve the natural ranking of your website?

If you regularly read the blogs of SEO experts or if you are simply interested in SEO, you have probably come across these two terms and wonder what they mean. Is it the same as the PageRank in the past?

In this article, I will answer all these questions and I will also show you a very simple way to evaluate at a glance the quality of the links that point to a website, thanks to a graphic derived from the Citation Flow and the Trust Flow.

What is Trust Flow?

Backlinks are very important for the ranking of a website. Backlinks are a sought-after commodity and are expensive to obtain. There are website operators who are tempted to shorten this rocky path and therefore look for second-class links that are easier to get.

By the way: In my article on link building you will find 20 easy ways to generate good backlinks.

However, Google has long since reached the point where it can classify the links according to their quality. If you predominantly have links from doubtful sources in your backlink portfolio, it may well be that Google punishes you for this. That’s where our metrics come in.

Trust Flow is a numerical value between 1 and 100, invented by Majestic SEO. You can use it to measure the trust index of a website.

Trust Flow Rating

The trust flow of a website is calculated from the links that refer to it.

The more links a site has from trusted sites, the higher the value.

In order to have a basis for its calculations, the Majestic team has manually examined a very large number of sites to give them a “trust score”.

This list is reviewed on a very regular basis and the evaluation made focuses on the trust criteria that are common to all search engines.

It is thanks to this first list that the system works.

With this basis, the publishers determine a value for each web page, which is transferred by each link.

The current Trust Flow has an even more accurate value.

The thematic trust flow is a thematic value, which means that it also takes into account the thematic relevance of the sites on which the links are located.

It is interesting because it allows an additional dimension to be added to the evaluation of links.

How can you improve your trust flow?

You have probably already figured it out: The higher your trust flow is, the more likely it is that your website will rank well in search engines.

So you’re probably wondering how you can improve that ranking.

In theory, it’s easy to get links from sites that have excellent trust flow themselves.

In practice, however, it is more complicated, because it means that you have to contact such sites and find a solution to get a link that gets to your site.

The higher the quality of a website, the more difficult it will be for you to get a link, as the sites in question are very popular.

What is the Citation Flow?

The Citation Flow is the quantitative counterpart to the Trust Flow.

Again, it is a value between 1 and 100, but this time the publishers only measure the number of links that point to a site.

A high Citation Flow is not necessarily a good indicator for the ranking of your website.

In fact, it is very easy to get many links, just use spam techniques that automatically create links everywhere without ever worrying about quality.

This type of technique will quickly increase your citation flow, but your trust flow will not benefit from it.

The result is the real danger that Google will punish you. Then all your SEO efforts would have been in vain.

Understanding these key figures at first sight

Although I have tried to explain them as simply as possible, the terms “Trust Flow” and “Citation Flow” may still be a bit vague for you.

But don’t worry, Majestic SEO had the good idea to use these two values to create a visual that, once understood, will allow you to judge at a glance whether a website’s links are of high quality or not.

So here is the visual I am talking about, which combines the two metrics.


Trust Flow und Citation Flow - Grafik

The value of the trust flow is on the vertical axis, while the citation flow appears on the horizontal axis.

In the middle, you have a diagonal centerline that represents the distribution between the trust flow and the citation flow of a site with good quality links.

Finally, the purple dots represent each link that points to your site.

The more dots you have above the center line, the better Google likes your link profile, since you usually have links from trusted sites.

In contrast, the more links you have below this line, and especially the more these dots are on the right side, the more your site is likely to be penalized by Google.

How can you know your trust and citation flow?

There is nothing easier, just go to the explorer site of and enter the URL of your website.

How should you use Trust Flow?

Now that you have understood what the Citation Flow and Trust Flow are used for and you know how to quickly evaluate the quality of a website’s links, you might ask yourself how you can use all this to improve your SEO.

Trust Flow, Citation Flow and thematic Trust Flow are simply values that allow you to measure the popularity of a website.

These values make it easier for you to determine which websites you need to work with to get links and thus improve the popularity of your website.

This saves you time creating links that give you nothing or little in the way of natural links.

Finally, should you wish to buy or sell links, Trust Flow will make your life much easier.

In fact, Trust Flow has become a reference for SEO experts to determine the price of a website or link.

Finally, Trust Flow and Citation Flow are suitable for replacing the old PageRank. Furthermore, they have a measure to find their equivalent in other tools that compete with Majestic SEO, such as Ahrefs and its domain rank or SEMRUSH and its Authority Score.

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