How to Use Majestic SEO’s Trust Flow Metric

Majestic SEO’s Trust Flow is the king of link metrics.

I’m going to show you how you can use this metric for analyzing your competitors, for performing link audits, and for link prospecting.

Let’s jump right in.

Why Trust Flow is King

As it stands right now, Google will likely never update PageRank again. PageRank was a reliable metric while in existence, but it is no longer an option. Open Site Explorer has it’s own Page Authority and Domain Authority metrics, but they are easy to manipulate. Also, Open Site Explorer updates its link index at a snails pace compared to Majestic. Ahrefs uses its own “URL Rank” and “Domain Rank”. Both are accurate, but still can’t match the accuracy of Trust Flow.

What is Trust Flow?

According to Majestic, “Trust Flow is one of the Majestic Flow Metrics, which is weighted by the number of clicks from a seed set of trusted sites to a given URL, or Domain.” In Laymen’s terms, Majestic determines the score based on the traffic that flows through a link, the relevancy of the linking site, and the links linking to the linking site.

What is Topical Trust Flow?

Based on our testing, Topical rating is based on the relevancy of links going to any given website. This variation of the metric is incredibly accurate and we use it for every link building campaign.

Competitor Analysis

We use Trust Flow to sift through competitors link profiles to see which ones are worth acquiring. As a rule of thumb, we only pay attention to links that are Topically relevant. So, let’s say I wanted to rank for “weight loss programs.”

Before jumping in and analyzing competitors links, we want to make sure that we’re only analyzing competitors that have topically relevant links. A site that’s ranking without topically relevant links is futile and more than likely fueled by spam. Don’t waste your time looking at these sites.

Step 1: Export SERP Results (Open Site Explorer SERP Overlay)
Open Site Explorer SERP Export

Copy the exact URLs from the excel file.

Step 2: Go to Majestic “Tools”
Majestic Tools
Step 3: Go to “Link Map Tools”
Majestic Link Map Tools
Step 4: Go to “Bulk Backlinks”
Majestic Bulk Backlinks Analysis
Step 5: Paste your links and click “Download Data”
Step 6: Remove unnecessary data
Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.37.42 AM
Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.38.11 AM
Step 7: Create a filter
Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.38.54 AM
Step 8: sort based on topic and delete any row that is irrelevant
Step 9: sort by TF and you will begin your link analysis on the first site
Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 8.41.18 AM

The process of analyzing the competitors links is exactly the same as above minus the SERP export. You’re going to download/export the competitors backlinks, eliminate the unnecessary data, filter and sort by TF, and add the best links to your prospecting sheet. We only consider sites with a 10 TF or higher to be worthy candidates for link acquisition.

Rinse and repeat for each competitor.

Link Audits (Penalty Recovery)

Using Trust Flow is a great way to identify toxic links during any link audit or penalty recovery.

Links with irrelevant Topical TF = bad
Links with low TF = bad

When doing the audit, I always start with the links that are topically irrelevant and then move onto links that have low or no Trust Flow at all. The links I find during this process will be scheduled for removal and eventually disavowed if they’re impossible to remove, or are just plain hurting the website. Don’t over-complicate this.

Let the Trust Flow guide you!

Link Prospecting

Trust Flow is an amazing metric for qualifying potential link opportunities. It can also be used for finding relevant guest posts, directories, resource lists, forums, expired domains, or pretty much anything. So, if you’re searching for guest post opportunities, simply toss the sites into the “Bulk Backlinks” option and follow the same steps I listed above to sift through them. You’ll now have an amazing list of relevant link opportunities that are going to drive your rankings up.

You can also gather a list of directories to see if they are worth submitting your site to.

For example, when I first heard about the Abilogic directory, I immediately tossed it into Majestic to see if it was worth getting a link from.

Abilogic Trust Flow

Here’s what I found:

This is a super relevant link opportunity for Gotch SEO and that’s why I submitted to it. Not only that, it’s an unoptimized Follow link, it’s a citation, it allows links to multiple pages, and the page where my link resides is actually indexed.

Believe it or not there are Topically relevant link opportunities outside of guest posts and PBNs. Use the Trust Flow metric to guide you.

Bot Blocking

Keep in mind, Majestic and the Trust Flow metric are not always 100% reliable. People using private blog networks have the ability to block Majestic from crawling their websites. That means when you perform a competition analysis, you will not see the links. Unfortunately there is really no solution to this issue unless Majestic figures out a way to get through the bot blockers. Only a small percentage of people doing SEO use private blog networks to rank, so you may or may not run into this.

PBN Deindexing = Irrelevant Topical Trust Flow

We have extensively tested this and conclude that the #1 factor that gets private blog network websites deindexed is when the content and outbound links do not match the Topical Trust Flow of the domain. For example, a network site with a Topical flow of “Society / Religion” that has content about Garcinia cambogia and is linking out to a website about health/supplements has a very high possibility of getting deindexed.

Obviously Google isn’t using Majestic’s metric, but they are using relevancy as a way to eliminate networks. Private Whois, different personalities, internal links, and whatever other garbage people say “protects” networks is just fluff. The only consistent strategy that protects a network site from being deindexed is to have content and outbound links that are relevant to the domain’s Topical Trust Flow.

If your website is about “health” and all of your PBN sites have “Health” as your Topical TF, it’s nearly impossible for Google to find your network unless you get a manual review.

Moral of the story: if you’re going to use a private blog network, make sure the content, outbound links and Topical Trust Flow are relevant to your money site. Not only does it keep your site safer, but your network will be way more effective.


I guarantee if you start using Trust Flow as your guiding metric, you are going to see some pretty crazy results.

Have some questions about Trust Flow?

Drop a comment below!

Thanks for reading,

– Gotch

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Nathan Gotch

Nathan Gotch is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He's the founder of the #1 SEO training program in the world, Gotch SEO Academy. And the author of The SEO Entrepreneur. Nathan's SEO expertise is featured on Semrush, Ahrefs, and Search Engine Journal.