Skip to content

Citation Flow vs Trust Flow Check, and why businesses fail to compete online

person using laptop

If you want to succeed online in your niche and always compete and get rewarded for your hard working time crafting content and fantastic products, you MUST understand these two metrics right now… or you will fade into obscurity.



Trust Flow is a metric that measures the quality of links.

Citation Flow provides your second important metric that measures the quantity of links.

The main difference between the Trust Flow check and Citation Flow is that while they both take into account the number of referring domains and URLs, they also consider other factors including IP addresses and domains themselves.

If you are evaluating a linking opportunity, then you would want to look at citation flow and trust flow. Why? Because these two metrics can tell you how much value a link is going to add (and more specifically, how much value that link will add to an individual page). It’s a metric to not miss in your Digital PR campaigns.

Take a look at the report below which you can get for free using the Majestic SEO Chrome plugin. It’s with you at the tap of a button, a quick and so crucial check. In an instant, and for the popular gifts & cards site Funky Pidgeon, you can see some metrics. Any site TF over 15 is usually a good trusted domain. I’d recommend a minimum of 20 if you are building a small number of links to your site.

trust flow check

What are these metrics and why must you measure them….before choosing where to build links?

The tool behind these crucial metrics is called Majestic SEO for the all important trust flow check.

What is Majestic SEO?

Majestic SEO is a specialised tool for link analysis. Unlike SEMrush and Ahrefs, Majestic is not a one-stop-shop tool. It’s all about backlinks. In other words: Majestic isn’t an all-in-one tool like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs or SEMrush. It only focuses on backlinks.

Ok, so what is citation flow and trust flow all about?

Citation Flow is a metric used by Majestic SEO to measure a link’s popularity before looking at the quality. Good citation flow doesn’t necessarily mean that the links on a site are of high quality. If you have links from high-quality, trustworthy sources, your site will likely see an increase in its trustworthiness and thus a boost in its traffic.

However, if people who link to your website aren’t trustworthy, the trustworthiness of your site could decrease.

Citation Flow is a metric that predicts how strong a URL will rank in search engines. It’s based on the volume of links to a particular URL, including both inbound and outbound links. The higher this number, the more likely it is to rank high in search engines.

Citation Flow ranges from one to 100; if your Citation Flow is above 80%, you’re doing pretty well!

Trust flow is a metric that considers the quality of links to your website. If a link to your site shows authority in its niche, its TF will be high and provides your site with a trustworthy back link thus boosting your trust flow. We trust sites that other people trust. A link from a page that people trust is more valuable than a link from a page that people don’t trust.

That’s why your Trust Flow is lower than your Citation Flow.

Trust flow is a metric that measures a website’s trustworthiness by analysing the quality of its inbound links. A high trust flow indicates that a website holds content that is highly trustworthy.

Trust Flow measures the quality of links to a given URL or Domain. Trust flow is calculated by analysing the trustworthiness of the websites that link to your website. The higher the trust of those sites, the better your score. The algorithm gives more weight to authoritative sources (sites with high domain authority) and gives less weight to low-quality sources that might be spammy or manipulative in their linking behavior.

The Trust Flow check is calculated using three metrics: Domain Rating, Linking Root Domains and Linking Entities (or Pages).

Their suite of tools can be found here and you can take them for a test drive for free to try it out!

There is a Chrome tool that is free to use called Majestic Backlink Analyzer.

Let’s look at another example of Trust Flow

Let’s take a look at the Trust Flow (TF) and Citation Flow (CF) of, which we all know is a very high authority news site. This is a very high authority domain so an article or snippet pointing to your site will carry a lot of SEO value to your domain, if it’s dofollow.

Nofollow is also good if it’s a high authority site as you get boatloads of traffic.

How can one tell if the actual trust level of a website is high enough? How can you tell if a particular ratio is good? For instance, say your Citation Flow has reached a metric level of 20 and Trust Flow of 40. That’s a ratio of 1:2. The highest ratio of 0:9 is based on 98:99.

The trust/citation flow ratio should also be about 0.50, as this indicates that you have links but people view you as trustworthy. If a site has a citation flow higher than its trust flow, it may be held back by low-quality links; this is probably not the kind of site you want to link to, unless these are pages you don’t mind being linked to with poor quality links.

From the image, you can see that has a TF of 93 and a CF of 81. This provides a ratio of 0.87 which is above 0.5 indicating a high quality site and a site that is worth linking to from an outbound link and/or a guest post.

Trust flow is a metric that considers the quality of links to your website. If a link to your site is authoritative and qualitative, then your trust flow will increase. We trust sites that other people trust. A link from a page that people trust is more valuable than a link from a page that people don’t trust.

That’s why your Trust Flow is lower than your Citation Flow.


You should still check DA, the content quality, the number of updates, and daily traffic. But, with TF and CF, you gain an immediate overview of the site’s quality from the trust flow check thus allowing you to approve or reject a link from that site.

The Trust flow and Citation flow metric measures how much people trust the sources of your website. If a lot of people link to your website from their websites, then you have a high trust flow. A high trust flow means that more people trust your website and find it useful. This can increase the number of visitors to your website.

Linking opportunities that have higher Trust Flow than citation flow are good opportunities to pursue while linking opportunities that have higher citation flow than trust flow are bad.

Before reading on, recite that line back to yourself again, remember it, understand it. Never forget!

If you are looking for link opportunities, it’s good to know that there are some key things you can look at. When it comes to the trust flow and citation flow of the linking domains, you want to focus on linking opportunities that have higher trust flow than citation flow. This means they are more likely to be authoritative sites because they have a lot of links coming in from other websites.

Let’s repeat that TF and CF meaning to your site.

Trust Flow is a measurement of how trustworthy a particular website is perceived by Google. It’s calculated using information from its backlinks (links pointing back towards your site) and content signals such as engagement metrics like clicks and shares or time spent on page. Citation Flow is similar but calculates rankings based on how often another site mentions yours rather than how many times other sites link back out to yours.

Links from huge sites with lots of pages and traffic will pass more Citation Flow than those from tiny sites with very little traffic.

That’s great! You now understand the idea of flow metrics and why these two metrics need checking: Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

Perhaps you’re wondering how significant the trust flow check is to the Google algorithm when they check your site for ranking changes.

It goes like this.

Trust Flow is a number between 0 and 100 that shows the likelihood of a piece of content to rank based on the quality of links. It’s one half of Google’s quality score algorithm.

Citation Flow, on the other hand, is a number between 1 and 100 that indicates how many links point to your website or page. It’s one quarter of Google’s quality score algorithm.

You can see how important the metrics are to you content marketing and SEO campaigns.

Links from trusted sources like CNN, BBC, Harvard, etc., will pass more Trust Flow.

While the concept of trust flow is similar to a link’s authority, there are some key differences.

Trust Flow is directly correlated to a website’s reputation and relevance. The more trusted your website or domain name is, the more trust flow it passes on all links from that site. So getting links from CNN, Harvard or BBC will pass off more Trust Flow than getting links from other sources that are less trusted.

Links from spammy sources like PBNs, low-quality directories, etc., will pass less Trust Flow.

Links from spammy sources like PBNs, low-quality directories, etc., will pass less Trust Flow.

Who cares? Well, if you get a link from a site that is known for being spammy and low quality, it can damage your rankings in the SERPs. Not only will Google see these links as coming from sites that they deem untrustworthy, but they may also pass on some of their “fault” to the websites they link to.

In upcoming blogs, I will spend more time on the techniques to get links fast and compete in your niche properly. Stick to measuring TF and CF and you won’t go wrong in quickly evaluating a site’s trust level for your business back links, and where your outbound links should or shouldn’t go out to. Don’t skip the trust flow check, it’s a quick way to know if a site is worth your content.