We've briefly touched on TrustFlow & CitationFlow in our post on link auditing. Since we published that post we've had some questions on what TrustFlow & CitationFlow actually is.

In an agency environment there can be hundreds of links to place each month. This can lead to placing content on some sites that may look good at first glance but in reality, the website owner may have used that domain for greyhat tactics in the past and is now just using it for link placements. These give your client no benefit from gaining a link whatsoever. In fact, it's the opposite - the chance of suffering a manual penalty from Google is very real.


The CitationFlow metric on its own is actually of little value, it only gives us a representation of the amount of links pointing to the website in question. It pays no regard whatsoever to the quality of these - they can be 100% spam for all it cares.


TrustFlow is meant to give us an idea of the quality of the inbound links, the more authorative and trustworthy sites linking in the higher the TrustFlow score. Don't fret if your TrustFlow is slightly lower than your CitationFlow - this is completely normal.

The best way to increase your TrustFlow? Organic traffic. You'll find your TrustFlow increasing exponentially as your organic traffic goes up.

Trust ratio

The trust ratio describes the relationship between CitationFlow & TrustFlow and lets us quickly gauge the quality of a potential link placement.

To calculate the trust ratio, simply calculate the following: TrustFlow / CitationFlow = Trust ratio

So why does the trust ratio work?

If the CitationFlow is high and the TrustFlow is low, this means that the website has a lot of link equity, but barely any trust from those links. This usually indicates that the site has gained those links from spammy areas of the web as they are not close to authoritative sources. Basically, they either paid for those links or acquired them in some other shady, non-organic way.

If it's the other way around, that means the inbound links to that website are trustworthy and come from high quality sources, in other words; a prime subject for link placement. I'd say a good cut off rate is around the 0.8-1.0 mark.

In practice

I hope this post gave you a better idea of what the trust ratio actually is and how TrustFlow and CitationFlow comes into play when judging the quality of a potential link placement.

In this post we go over how to use the trust ratio in practice when auditing links with Seotools for Excel.

And finally, don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.