Trust flow and citation flow metrics, sounds like a new term?

Same here for me. Before knowing what the flow metrics are, if I came across the term, I thought what the heck is this? What’s the difference between ‘EM?

I Googled several times: What is trust flow? Citation flow vs. trust flow.  I have even heard many webmasters saying – “I am having trouble understanding citation flow versus trust flow”. Today I will put an end to that confusion.

Unlike all the SEO concepts, it was a bit difficult for me to understand. Especially the difference between them.However, I understood the flow metrics . I am writing this post to help you understand the flow metrics if you are baffled by these terms.

Need of flow metrics

With the extinction of Google PageRank, the secondary metrics matters a lot. Metrics like Domain authority, Trust flow, and citation flow are becoming the ranking factors in Google.

The flow metrics are updated every day, so they are more accurate.

Graph Undraw

The sites like Moz and MajesticSEO are great at ranking and determining the authority of the sites or blogs. You can’t just easily trick these metrics, like that of Google PageRank.


You can accurately determine the trust of the site with this. The job of ranking sites has become much easier for Google with the introduction of trust and citation flow metrics.

What is citation flow?

A metric designed to predict how influential a link in a site might be, by considering the links pointing to it. It does not bother about the quality of links. If there are more domains pointing to a blog post, then the more influential it is.

In this context, it’s important to know what “influential” means.

The capacity of your site or blog, to have an impact on the readers of your blog or those who are interested in your niche.

All trust flow factors also are the factors for citation flow. If trust flow increases, citation flow should also increase. There is no rule that citation flow should be increased equally to the increase in trust flow.

However, if the citation flow increases, there is no rule that trust flow should also increase.

Remember that, if some sites with high citation flow link to your site, then you get a high citation flow boost with fewer inbound links.

Consider trust flow also. Because links from sites with high C.F but poor T.F, negatively affect your site, although boosts your citation flow.

What is trust flow?

A metric designed to decide how trustworthy a link is based on the QUALITY of backlinks pointing to the site.

If there are authoritative, trustworthy backlinks to a site, then the greater is the trust flow.

The trust flow of almost every site or link is less than the citation flow. Why?

A site may have tons of backlinks. But, not all of them are high quality and have TRUST.

Even though you strictly make sure that you have only quality backlinks, there will be low-quality backlinks that are generated automatically by various directories or other sorts of backlinks.

In simple words, there is less chance of getting all high-quality backlinks. Hence, TRUST FLOW cannot overtake CITATION FLOW  most of the times.

Also, it is observed that there is a direct correlation between the trust flow of a domain and the amount of organic traffic it is getting.

If a site has high trust flow, then it means that it has a high-quality backlink profile. High-quality backlinks give Google rankings boost.

In Layman’s terms, high trust flow is the clear sign of having high-quality content to Google and other search engines.If there are more backlinks to a site that carry the trust flow, then it is the sign that the site is getting decent organic traffic.

Trust flow and citation flow ratio

The ratio between the above two metrics matters a lot in determining the overall trust of the site.If a site has a citation flow of 40 and trust flow of 20 then the ratio is 2:1 or 0.5. The maximum ratio possible most of the times is 0.9. However, Google is an exception, it has the ratio of 98:99.

Nearing  the ratio of 1 is desirable. Average trust to citation flow ratio should be 0.50. More the authority and trustworthy the site, the ratio is higher.

If the trust flow is greatly lesser than the citation flow, then it is clear that the site is having low-quality large amount of backlinks. QUALITY backlinks among the tons of backlinks is higher in case of authoritative sites.

Some figures


How to measure flow metrics?

You can head over to MajesticSEO, enter the URL, use fresh index (default), and hit search. Now it should return the backlink profile of that URL. It also returns the flow metrics along with this.

There is a fair usage policy for non-signed up users. If you would like to extend this limit, you need to register for a free account. Installing the MajesticSEO extension for Chrome or Firefox might be a better option. It helps you, easily look up for flow metrics of any site.

If you want to check and compare the flow metrics of multiple URLs at once, you can use Bulk Backlink Checker tool, Raven SEO tools also make use of MajesticSEO API to pull flow metrics data.There are several advantages of using MajesticSEO.

  • Identifying top influencers in your niche.
  • Identifying the real problem for Penguin penalty.
  • Link quality analysis.
  • Prevention of irrelevant link building (with the help of topical flow metrics)
  • Finding great content.

7 GOLDEN points to increase flow metrics

  1. Increasing trust flow should be the main goal. To keep up the healthy ratio, trust flow should be higher. Increasing citation flow is somewhat pointless. Indirectly it means that, QUALITY OF BACKLINKS WIN OVER QUANTITY.
  2. In 1000 backlinks vs. one authoritative backlink, the authoritative backlink is the clear winner.
  3. Guest posting is the best way to get authoritative backlinks. However, guest posting should be kept to a minimum. The frequency at which the backlinks are built should be kept to a minimum, especially if your blog or site is new.
  4. You should build links from authoritative sites within your niche only. Because MajesticSEO also takes account of topical trust scores. You should have a higher trust score in your niche or topic, to be ranked higher in Google.
  5. Great internal linking strategies help in increasing the trust flow and citation flow. Strong homepage with high flow metrics can influence the pages linked from the homepage. Having backlinks to both the homepage and internal pages boosts flow metrics greatly.
  6. .Gov and .Edu backlinks carry more trust score to your site or blog.
  7. No-follow links also carry citation flow to some extent, but not trust flow.

Final words

 Shortly with the extinction of PageRank (internally not extinct), Google would stress more and more on other metrics. Improving other metrics naturally helps in the long term.

Gaining quality backlinks is the only way to be ranked higher in Google. With the quality backlinks all the other metrics like flow metrics and domain authority increases.

Increase in other metrics is the great signal for Google to rank the site or blog higher in SERPs.

Who knows? Perhaps this is the first step of MajesticSEO in path of building its own search engine. Increasing flow metrics would be beneficial to rank higher in their probable future search engine.MozTrust is also similar to trust flow.

It also measures the trust what search engines, indirectly users put on your site.

Make sure you check MozTrust along with T.F, for accurate results.

Akshay strongly recommends: MozRank and MozTrust: Everything you Should Know

Hope this article helped you. I took 5 hours to write this post on flow metrics. If you have really liked this blog post, do share and comment.