Authority Metrics

Majestic Citation Flow (CF)

Glossary  |  2 mins

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Citation Flow (CF) is a metric created and trademarked by the SEO tool Majestic. It’s a numeric score between 0 and 100 used to show the popularity of a given URL, based on the raw number of links that point to it. Low quality or newly registered websites will have a citation flow a little above 0, whereas authoritative, long-standing sites like YouTube enjoy citation flow scores in the high 90s.

It’s important to note that Citation Flow is a quantitative metric, not a qualitative metric. Citation flow is only influenced by the number of links pointing at a domain or webpage, not the equity of those links. Majestic uses a separate metric to measure equity, known as Trust Flow.

Though Citation Flow won’t give you the full story on a domain’s authority or equity, it can provide a useful benchmark that will allow you to begin searching for good link building opportunities.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re planning to improve the average equity for the referring domains in your site’s backlink profile. If you’ve determined that the average Citation Flow score for referring domains in your backlink profile is 55, you may want to begin your search by filtering out all domains with a Citation Flow score of 60 or lower.

When using Majestic’s metrics in your link building campaigns, Citation Flow can be a good starting point to assess the value of a referring domain, but it’s certainly not the only thing to look at when deciding whether or not to target a link from that page or domain. Though all authoritative sites will have a high citation flow score, a low-authority site can gain a high citation flow score just as easily, simply by building a lot of spammy, low quality links.

While a link from a highly trusted site with a low Citation Flow score won’t be especially valuable, a site with a high Citation Flow score and a low Trust Flow score isn’t going to do you any favours either, and may even drag down your site’s rankings as a toxic backlink.

When using Majestic’s Citation Flow in your link building strategy always consider a site’s Trust Flow alongside it.

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Majestic Citation Flow (CF) FAQs

How do you improve citation flow?

Like similar metrics from other tools, the best way to improve your site’s Citation Flow is to build quality backlinks through proven link building techniques, such as publishing high quality, authoritative content, guest posting on high authority sites, and repairing broken backlinks. Remember though, Citation Flow is only a quantitative metric, and an improved Citation Flow score won’t necessarily improve your site’s chances to rank on competitive SERPs.

Questions to ask your link builder