Citation Flow: A Metric That Helps With Backlink Building

Are you having trouble accurately assessing the quality of your backlink profile? Then consider using Citation Flow to receive a score that summarizes the quality of the websites linking to your domain.

We’ll share the benefits of Citation Flow and the best practices you can follow to speed up the learning process. Likewise, we’ll share some limitations of the metric so you can set realistic expectations. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better idea of how to build a backlink profile, which is important if you want to rank in the first spot on Google for target keywords. After all, the number one spot in the SERPs has 3.8x the backlinks of positions 2-10

For example, you can see your Citation Score by going to Majestic and typing in the website domain. The higher the score, the better.

What is Citation Flow?

Citation Flow is a metric developed by Majestic, a popular SEO tool, to measure the influence of a website based on the number and quality of external links pointing to it. This metric helps determine how powerful a site might be in terms of search engine ranking potential.

Citation flow works by providing a score that ranges from 0 to 100, where a higher score indicates higher influence. The score is determined by the number of backlinks a site has, but not all backlinks are equal. High-quality backlinks from authoritative sites contribute more to the Citation Flow than numerous low-quality links.

To summarize, Citation Flow is about:

  • Measuring the quantity and quality of backlinks point to a website.
  • The link equity that passes from another website to a target page.

Keep in mind that the metric doesn't directly assess the content of the linking sites but focuses on the link quantity and their impact on the site's authority.

What Are the Benefits of Citation Flow

Now let’s examine the multiple benefits of Citation Flow to help you determine if it’s a metric worth adding to your SEO strategy. Website owners have more data than ever before, and getting overwhelmed can stunt decision-making. We’ll make a case for Citation Flow and you decide if it’s a metric that you’ll add to your SEO analytical toolkit. 

Asses Competitor Strength

Do you find it hard to figure out why some competitors consistently outrank you for important target keywords? Then you can use Citation Flow to conduct competitor analysis. For example, you can compare the Citation Flow scores of your site with those of your competitors. Hence, you can gain insights into the relative strength of their backlink profiles. 

This comparative analysis helps identify areas where your link-building efforts may be lacking and reveals opportunities to gain a competitive edge. Furthermore, understanding where your competitors are acquiring their high-value backlinks allows you to target similar sources. This will help you close the gap and potentially surpass them in search rankings.

Improve and Track SEO Performance

Citation Flow plays a crucial role in shaping an effective SEO strategy by providing insights into the quality and influence of backlinks. Furthermore, it evaluates the number of links a website has and their respective quality. This guides marketers to prioritize acquiring links from authoritative sites instead of wasting time and resources on low-quality links. 

Furthermore, by focusing on these high-value links, businesses can significantly improve their search engine rankings. In fact, the number of domains linking to a website is one of the top ranking signals. The result is better visibility and higher organic traffic. However, you’ll need industry-leading tools to help you track backlinks, and Hike SEO is a noteworthy choice. 

Benchmark Your Progress

Do you need a way of benchmarking your link building progress? Then Citation Flow is an effective metric for tracking the performance of your SEO and link-building efforts over time. It allows you to regularly monitor changes in Citation Flow scores and allows businesses to evaluate the effectiveness of their strategies. 

Furthermore, a rising Citation Flow score indicates successful link-building activities and improved site authority. In comparison, a declining score may signal the need for adjustments, and you can prioritize backlink optimization over other activities. 

Help With Backlink Profile Risk Management 

Citation Flow helps to identify potentially harmful backlinks so you can avoid them and the penalties that may follow. Websites with very low Citation Flow scores might be spammy or low-quality, posing a risk to your site’s SEO health. 

Therefore, by regularly monitoring your backlink profile through Citation Flow, you can identify and disavow these risky links. This helps preserve all of the hard work you do in building a healthy backlink profile. 

Identify Link Building Opportunities

Citation Flow simplifies the process of link prospecting by providing a clear metric to evaluate potential link sources. Therefore, when searching for sites to acquire backlinks from, Citation Flow scores can quickly indicate which sites are likely to provide the most SEO benefit. 

Once you find websites with a high Citation Flow, you can inspect them in more detail for the links contributing to this high score. This streamlined prospecting process saves time and ensures that you are targeting the most valuable link opportunities.

Improved Content Strategy

Citation Flow can guide content creation by revealing which types of content attract high-quality backlinks. Therefore, by analyzing which pages or articles have high Citation Flow scores, content creators can understand what resonates most with authoritative sites. 

Do you have a website blog that drives search engine traffic? Then you can use this insight for the development of more targeted and engaging content. Hence, it’s more likely to attract valuable links, enhance your overall content strategy, and boost SEO performance. 

Note that longer content receives 77.2% more links than shorter ones. This can help orientate your content in the right direction. 

Citation Flow vs. Trust Flow: What’s the Difference?

In a nutshell, Citation flow measures the number of backlinks pointing to a website, whereas Trust Flow measures their quality. You can combine both metrics into your analytics process to get a more comprehensive understanding of a website’s backlink profile. 

Note that Trust Flow also has a score of 0 to 100, with a higher score indicating better quality links. You’ll find that Trust Flow can build upon what Citation Flow offers by:

  • Evaluating the trust factor of linking domains based on their backlink profiles.
  • Assess the reliability and quality of links.

What Are the Drawbacks of Citation Flow?

While Citation Flow offers multiple benefits, there are also a few drawbacks to consider. This allows you to have a blanched overview and set the right expectations. Here are the top Citation Flow drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited insight without other metrics: Citation Flow on its own provides an incomplete view of a site's backlink profile. Therefore, you need to consider other metrics for a complete picture.

  • Quality vs quantity: The metric primarily focuses on the quantity of backlinks rather than their quality. This means that a website with numerous low-quality links can have a high Citation Flow score, which might be misleading.
  • Ignoring link trustworthiness: While Citation Flow measures the influence of backlinks, it doesn't assess the trustworthiness of the linking sites. Hence, you’ll need to research the website to determine if it meets your criteria.
  • Lack of contextual relevance: The metric does not account for the relevance of the website the link is coming from. Therefore, backlinks from contextually irrelevant sources can inflate the score without contributing to genuine search engine optimization benefits.
  • Susceptibility to manipulation: The metric can be manipulated through black-hat SEO techniques such as link farms or spammy link-building practices. This means you can’t trust it blindly without further research.

Citation Flow Best Practices To Boost SEO

Optimizing your SEO efforts with Citation Flow can be tricky at first. Therefore, we’ll provide the best practices to guide you toward the right habits. This makes boosting your SEO scores a lot easier. 

Target High-Authority Sites

Focus on acquiring backlinks from websites with high Citation Flow scores. These sites are seen as more influential and can pass more authority to your site. You’ll need to engage in outreach efforts to these high-authority sites by offering valuable content, guest posts, or collaborations. It takes work, but the boost to your search rankings can be worthwhile. 

Monitor and Disavow Low-Quality Links

Regularly review your backlink profile to identify low-quality or spammy links. Use tools like Google Search Console and Hike SEO to disavow these harmful links. This prevents them from negatively affecting your Citation Flow and SEO.

Engage in Broken Link Building

Identify broken links on high-authority sites in your industry. Then reach out to the site owners and suggest replacing the broken links with relevant content from your site. This strategy not only helps the site owner but also provides you with high-quality backlinks.

Diversify Your Backlink Profile

The research you do with the aid of Citation flow metrics will help you uncover potential link building opportunities. This allows you to diversify your backlink profile by adding links you would have never found otherwise. 

Focus on Relevant Links

Don’t get carried away by adding any links you find from research with Citation flow. You still need to vet each link for relevance - even if they arrive from websites with high Citation Flow. This ensures the website experience doesn’t downgrade during the link building process. 

Monitor Your Backlink Profile with SEO Tools

Invest in a high-quality SEO toolset that helps you track backlinks. This will help you take advantage of the links you find with Citation Flow in an organized manner. Hike SEO helps spot link building opportunities in any niche. 

Optimize Internal Linking

Don’t forget to improve your site’s internal linking structure by linking to pages with high Citation Flow. This helps distribute link equity across your site. This enhances the overall authority and SEO performance of your web pages. However, make sure that internal links are relevant and add value to the user experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is Citation Flow measured?

Citation Flow is measured by analyzing the number of backlinks pointing to a website, with an emphasis on the potential influence these links have on the site's authority. The metric was developed by Majestic and it’s a score from 0 to 100.

Furthermore, the score is determined by the quantity of backlinks, but not all links contribute equally. Links from websites with high Citation Flow themselves carry more weight, thereby boosting the target site's score more significantly. However, Citation Flow does not assess the quality or context of these links. Instead, it focuses on the sheer volume and inherent influence of the linking sites.

How do you check Citation Flow for your website?

You can check Citation Flow on the website that created the metric, which is Majestic. Start by visiting the Majestic website and entering your site's URL into their search bar. The tool will then analyze your website's backlink profile. This provides you with a Citation Flow score that reflects the number and influence of backlinks pointing to your site. 

Majestic also offers additional insights, such as Trust Flow, which measures the quality of the links. Also, there are detailed reports on the sources of your backlinks, which helps you understand and optimize your link-building strategy.

What is a good Citation Flow score?

A good Citation Flow score generally falls within the range of 40 to 60, which indicates a strong and influential backlink profile. However, scores above 60 are considered excellent and typically reflect a high level of authority and numerous high-quality backlinks. 

Furthermore, it’s important to consider this score alongside Trust Flow. A balanced ratio between Citation Flow and Trust Flow is ideal since it signifies both the quantity and quality of backlinks. 

Why is Citation Flow important for SEO?

Citation Flow is important for SEO because it measures the influence of a website based on its backlink profile. This helps determine its potential to rank well in search engine results. Additionally, a high Citation Flow score indicates a strong presence of backlinks, which search engines often consider a signal of authority and relevance. 

Furthermore, this metric helps webmasters and SEO professionals assess the effectiveness of their link-building efforts. When used alongside Trust Flow, which measures the quality of backlinks, Citation Flow provides a comprehensive view of a website’s link health. This can guide SEO professionals and website owners to make strategic improvements for better search engine visibility and rankings.

How often is Citation Flow updated?

Citation Flow is updated regularly to reflect the most current backlink data. Majestic typically updates its metrics, including Citation Flow, on a monthly basis. This frequency ensures that changes in a website’s backlink profile are promptly reflected in its Citation Flow score. 

Regular updates allow webmasters and SEO professionals to monitor the impact of their link-building strategies and make timely adjustments.

Is Citation Flow enough for sufficient SEO analysis?

Citation Flow alone is not sufficient for a comprehensive SEO analysis. That’s because it does not assess the quality or trustworthiness of those links. For a well-rounded SEO evaluation, it should be used alongside other metrics, such as Trust Flow, domain authority, and page authority. 

These additional metrics provide insights into the overall health and credibility of a website's backlink profile.

What can you do if you spot a drop in Citation Flow?

If you spot a drop in Citation Flow, start by analyzing your backlink profile to identify lost or downgraded links. Use tools like Hike SEO to focus on acquiring high-quality backlinks to replace lost ones. You’ll need to target authoritative and relevant sites for the best results. 

Furthermore, improve your content to attract natural links and engage in outreach efforts, such as guest blogging. Finally, ensure your site adheres to SEO best practices to prevent penalties that can harm your search rankings. 

Hike SEO

Crafting the perfect link building strategy is an uphill battle for the best of marketers, so the average business owner needs all the help they can get. Citation Flow is a metric that helps simplify link-building by providing a fresh approach to spot link building opportunities. 

However, you’ll need a reputable software solution to organize and track your backlinks. Enter Hike SEO, an industry-leading SEO toolkit that includes competitor backlink analysis, among a myriad of other features.