SEO: Optimising trust flow and citation flow

SEO: Optimising trust flow and citation flow
Measure E-A-T and Google will appreciate your website. But how do you, as an SEO specialist, make sure you show expertise, become an authority and are reliable? One of the ways to achieve this is by optimising your external link profile. Everything about the metrics Trust and Citation flow.

What kind of insight does the trust and citation flow give you?
The quality and reliability of your backlink profile affect your PageRank and that is exactly what the trust and citation flow provides insight. The trust flow and citation flow are Majestic flow metrics that are very suitable for analysing the value of your backlinks, because you can compare both flows and calculate the trust ratio. In other words, the ratio between qualitative and quantitative links.

Majestic trust flow
The trust flow gives you insight into the reliability and quality of incoming links. The higher the trust score, the higher the reliability of a link. Reliable links, for example, originate from domains or pages with a high authority value. Google trusts these sources, which in turn contributes to the way Google trusts your website.

Majestic citation flow
The citation flow gives you more insight into the size of your backlink profile. A high citation score says more about the amount of collected backlinks. Do you compare this with the trust flow? Then you get a good insight into your link profile, because a site with a lot of backlinks does not have to be reliable! The other way round, of course, also applies to websites with a minimum number of incoming links.

Please note: there are of course several tools that give you insight into your backlink profile, so consider carefully whether these flow metrics from Majestic offer added value or whether you want to use other tools such as SEMrush and the AR and DR of Ahrefs.

What is a good trust flow for your domain?
To determine whether you have a good trust flow your competition is important. You can strive for a certain trust flow value, but if the competitors in Google are still 10 values above that, they have an edge in that area. This does not mean that you cannot rank above them, but that depends on the quality of your content or the technology in your website.

You also look at the trust ratio of your competitors; are your flows more in proportion (1:1)? Then there is a greater chance that you can rank better with your website.

Examples of good trust ratio
A few practical examples. You often see a very good trust ratio in companies with a high authority in the sector. This is because they have natural and strong links thanks to their authority of their own. Below you can see for example for bol.com and NOS that the ratio between the values is very good.

 

Trust flow and citation flow in your SEO audit
By setting the flow metrics against each other, you get a nice picture of the quality of your backing profile, or the degree of reliability of your site for Google and visitors. Mapping this trust ratio is therefore an important part of your SEO audit. Is the ratio of the flow metrics lower than 0.5 (trust flow/citation flow)? Then there really is work to be done! Do websites not like to link to you? Is it because of bad content on your site? Are the wrong or spammy domains linking to you? Or don’t you do enough to get the right links? An important conclusion to determine where the priority should be in your SEO strategy.

Test your trust and citation flow: backlink checker.

Majestic flow metrics and E-A-T
Extremely important when assessing your flow metrics: use these metrics as a means to analyse your link profile! In the end, there are many other factors that determine the quality of your link profile. Do not treat the flows and their optimisation as an end in itself, but as a means to create reliability and authority in the industry. In other words, make sure it contributes to E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness).

Seven strategies to collect reliable backlinks
Below I discuss seven strategies that contribute to creating a valuable backlin profile, which you can monitor via your Majestic flow metrics.

Strategy 1: Image on the left
Perhaps a somewhat underexposed link strategy, but certainly worthy of mention. Good own photos and images can have an enormous reach, not only through an article or page, but also through image search. There is also a good chance that your images will be shared or used on other websites. If you are already mentioned as a source, you will certainly not always be linked to your website. An easy chance to claim your backlink!

 

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Strategy 2: Ego baiting (expert left)
In order to become an authority in your sector, it is often very valuable to involve other experts in the sector as well. After all, they already have a high degree of reliability in their knowledge (sharing). As soon as you are able to trigger them with an interesting interview, put them in a top # ‘branch’ expert list or award them an award, for example, there is a good chance that they will share it directly in their network. This results in a valuable link, where you will also generate visitors.

Strategy 3: Competition analysis
Analyse your competitors and see whether you are missing out on opportunities in attractive, reliable domains from which they also get a link. The chances are higher that there is a link to your site. They got it done too! This is a good strategy to look for the ‘gaps’ between yourself and your competitors and collect valuable backlinks.

Strategy 4: Local links
Especially for locally based companies it is extremely important to prove to Google that you are locally present, findable and known. With local SEO you want to collect local backlinks from local foundations, associations or events for example. It is less important here what the domain authority is, because that local presence already gives confidence.

Strategy 5: Review case links
Offer your partners a review case about the collaboration and claim a relevant link. Which partner could reject it? Make it a good case and help them become more reliable.

Strategy 6: 404-page links
This strategy seems simpler, but it requires an investment of time. This is especially valuable if you already have a good idea of which domains you want to have a backlink in. These are often also the more popular domains. Analyse the domain and possibly discover 404 pages. Do you have relevant and suitable content for that yourself? Then approach the party and offer them your content via a backlink, so they can quickly solve a broken page!

Strategy 7: Unlinked mentions
Via tools such as SEMrush you can very easily enable unlinked brand mentions. This way you will immediately find possibilities to claim backlinks. Your brand name has already been used and named, a shame not to make a backlink out of it. This definitely contributes to your authority in the sector and to a natural link profile. Of course, this is only possible with a unique brand name.

Getting started
These strategies help you on your way to creating a natural, valuable link profile, which you can monitor via the Majestic flow metrics. In addition, these strategies help you directly to create diversity in the referring domains. Tip: always use metrics and tools as a means to an end. The use of certain tools can strongly depend on your priority. Therefore, determine where the priority should be based on your SEO audit or analysis.