Not all links are equal – a link from a quality site will be much more valuable than a link from a poor site. A quality site is one created by humans who care about their audiences and the content they create for them – a poor site might be one created by robots to scrape other people’s content and make money from advertising.
In this video we’ll show how Trust Flow and Citation Flow allow you to tell the difference and we’ll give you some examples.
Knowing the difference between quality and poor sites has advantages:
1. You can make the most of your time by concentrating on quality links only
2. You’ll avoid penalties by ignoring poor sites
3. You can spot dodgy tactics your competitors might be using
4. You can spot dodgy links that you got in the past… and might need to do something about.
Trust Flow and Citation Flow allow you to see the differences quickly.
High Trust Flow and good Citation Flow
Here Ariba.com has a high Trust Flow and a good Citation Flow
When a site links to you, your Citation Flow increases…
Keep adding links and your Citation Flow will continue to grow
But your Citation Flow doesn’t JUST come from sites that link to you…
Citation Flow also comes from the sites that link to the sites that link to you…
…and from the sites that link to them.
The power ‘flows’ through all of those levels of links.
If a site has got a lot of links, then it will pass on more power – so getting links from sites that themselves have a high citation flow is likely be good for you.
But herein lies a problem…
…Citation Flow like other measures of a site’s power can be manipulated.
So, it’s important to ignore links from spammy robot sites and look at sites that are created by real humans…
The importance principle at the heart of Trust Flow
Because of our huge link database, we found a very important difference…
Robot sites will link to human sites…
But human sites don’t tend to link to robot sites.
Human sites tend to link to other human sites…
…so a site that has links from a human site is also likely to be a human site
That’s a really important principle at the heart of Trust Flow.
So suppose this diagram represents the whole of the internet…
Then we can isolate sites that we know through research are human – and can be trusted…
…they’re shown as red in this diagram
We’ve created a seed set of millions of human sites spread over many different categories.
For any URL, we can ask the question – how far away is this URL from the seed set of known trusted sites?
It’s a bit like 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon created by a trio of Albright students.
So, we can say, “the closer a page is to our set of known trusted sites, the higher its Trust Flow”.
Trust Flow is a much better measure of the quality of a site than Citation Flow.
Trust Flow and Citation Flow work together
So why don’t we just drop Citation Flow?
We don’t because in conjunction with Trust Flow it gives some very valuable insights.
We combine Trust Flow and Citation Flow to give you a link profile…
Here’s a decent profile from a small business with good links…
Most of the links cluster around the 45 degree line – which is what you might expect…
The site has many great links including this one which has a high Trust Flow and a high Citation Flow
But there will be poor links as well – like this one here in the bottom right which has a high Citation Flow, but very low Trust Flow.
Now the site owner might want to do something about this, but these poor links are probably more than compensated for by all the high Trust Flow links.
Where it starts to be a problem is in a link profile like this.
You can see that nearly all the links fall below the 45 degrees line…
In other words, nearly all the links have a higher Citation Flow that they do Trust Flow…
…which means they’re likely to be from ‘robot’ sites.
So if a link prospect has this type of link profile, don’t go near it!
To see the Trust Flow and Citation Flow of your site, go to Site Explorer, then referring domains and choose your options.
In this case we’ve sorted the referring domains by descending Trust Flow.
And if you want to work on these in more detail, create an Advanced Report and go to ‘analysis options’. Choose the ‘Flow metrics’ tab and enter your figures.