Citation Flow

David Kusserow

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The Citation Flow is a Key Performance Indicator calculated and provided by the company Majestic SEO. In conjunction with the Trust Flow, the Citation Flow expresses how trustworthy a website is based on the existing backlink profile.

Definition

The Citation Flow metric is a value offered by Majestic SEO. In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), this company is known as the provider of a large link database. To differentiate itself from Google’s metrics, the vendor published Citation Flow and associated Trust Flow in 2012. Together, the values form the Majestic Flow Metrics.

Similar to Google Page Rank‘s algorithm, you can use Citation Flow as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) that shows how often a web page is linked to by others. Search engines use the number and quality of such backlinks as an indicator of the trustworthiness of a website. This value is important for search engines to assign your website its position on the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

The provider plots both Citation Flow and Trust Flow in values between 0 and 100 and plots them against each other. With this you can see the values of your website on a chart.

How is the citation flow created?

By analyzing the number and quality of backlinks, the algorithm calculates a value that should take both aspects into account. The quality of the links depends on how the linking page is classified. The quality of the page depends on many OnPage and OffPage factors. This includes aspects of Technical SEO such as the loading speed of the website, how comprehensible the URLs are, but also other factors such as text quality or user behaviour. You have to keep in mind that a backlink from a Bad Neighbourhood – a site of low quality – will hurt the value of your site more than a good one will help you.

How can you read citation flow and trust flow?

Not only can you use Citation Flow and Trust Flow like your Domain Authority to see how present your site is on the internet and how trustworthy it is ranked, but you can also keep track of the quality of your backlinks.

Majestic SEO’s chart plots the values between 0 and 100. On the X-axis the value for Citation Flow is entered, on the Y-axis the value for Trust Flow. This picture gives an important indication of the quality of your site and its presence on the Internet.

citation flow

How meaningful your chart is depends a lot on how many backlinks you have. Only when the graph fills up with more and more entries does a meaningful picture emerge. So the graph is more useful for large websites than small ones.

Conclusion

Citation Flow is a Key Performance Indicator that works very similarly to Domain Authority. But it is only with the second associated value, trust flow, that the full picture emerges. However, the graph you can create with these two values is only useful for large web pages.

Since your citation flow result is based on data from the Majestic SEO group, it may not match Google’s values, which you can determine supplementally with tools like Google Analytics.

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