As a website owner, you need to keep track of a lot, especially when optimizing your web presence for search.
You’ll face Google’s constant algorithm changes, new metrics, and strategies, among other factors that you can’t control.
Despite the challenges, optimization comes with several benefits, including more visibility for your site and more chances of connecting with customers who seek your product or service.
Some of the significant factors that influence your site’s ranking and authority include page rankings, keywords you rank for, organic traffic, and more.
By taking stock of such metrics and applying the knowledge you get from monitoring them, you can better understand how well or poorly your strategy is developing.
However, there are two essential metrics that we’ll discuss in this post: trust flow and domain authority.
We’ll look at what trust flow and domain authority are and the differences between these two terms.
Trust Flow is the brainchild of Majestic, an SEO software company. The metric measures a website’s perceived trustworthiness based on the site’s backlinks.
Majestic assigns the score to a domain or URL based on the quality of external backlinks to the site.
Trust Flow considers the following:
- Traffic that flows to your site through a link
- Relevancy of the linking website
- Links that point to the linking website
Trust Flow measures how trustworthy your site is, assuming that your site generally links out to other reliable and trustworthy websites.
If you consider Trust Flow, the other outdated techniques like building lots of low-quality spammy links could lower your Trust Flow score.
Majestic gives the Trust Flow scores a number between 1 and 100, with 100 as the highest possible score. The scale is logarithmic, just like domain authority, which we’ll discuss shortly.
The Trust Flow score is often applied alongside Citation Flow, a metric from the same company, which measures your site’s power based on the number of links.
Ideally, if your site has a high Trust Flow and Citation Flow, it’s ranked well by search engines because it’s generally considered a good quality site.
However, Trust Flow isn’t associated with Google’s algorithms, meaning it’s not an actual ranking factor. But, the score offers insights when you’re performing competitor analysis in your SEO campaigns.
Majestic also provides a similar metric called Topical Trust Flow. This metric just breaks down the sites from where you get your backlinks. It also helps you figure out the kind of sites that link back to you, which helps determine if they’re influential seed sites or spammy sites.
Majestic uses backlink quality to calculate Trust Flow. It evaluates seed sites, popular domains like the BBC or Facebook collects their linking data, and uses that to determine their seed score and generate the Trust Flow metric.
Once they have the data, it’s used to judge other sites’ trustworthiness. This way, any sites more closely linked to seed sites usually have higher Trust Flow scores compared to those that aren’t linked at all or are more distant.
Trust Flow matters for several reasons:
- It gives you a big picture view of the amount of traffic coming into your site via backlinks from other sites
- Shows the relevance of the linking websites
- Displays the number of backlinks to the linking sites
The relevance and quality of links from the linking sites and their relationship to the trusted seed sites matter when it comes to Trust Flow.
Majestic calculates Trust Flow based on a scale of 1 to 100. There’s no way to know the exact methods that the company uses to derive scores because the metric is trademarked.
However, Majestic has revealed details about the factors that influence the role in Trust Flow scores.
For instance, while Citation Flow begins with raw figures for each URL, many of which are automatically created by machines, Trust Flow begins with sites curated by human writers, editors, and developers.
Consequently, it’s almost impossible to use black hat methods to manipulate Trust Flow. Plus, Trust Flow uses an iterative process to conduct link analysis, and, like link equity, the trustworthiness flows from one page to another and through internal links.
This is important because it helps you plan your internal linking strategy to improve the visibility of your key converting pages.
Domain Authority or DA is a metric by Moz, a SaaS company that provides marketing analytics and inbound marketing software subscriptions.
DA uses data from the Mozscape Index, which includes other metrics like MozTrust, MozRank, and external links. These metrics help rank your website on a scale of 1-100, just like Trust Flow. Consequently, the higher your DA, the more powerful your site is.
Unlike other metrics like Page Authority (PA) and Trust Flow, DA considers all the pages on your site’s domain or subdomain, while PA assigns rankings to a single page.
Moz calculates DA using several factors such as:
- Number of internal and external links to your site
- Popularity, relevance, and trustworthiness of linking sites
- Anchor text used to link to your website
Moz’s DA scale is logarithmic, like Majestic’s Trust Flow, meaning you can easily increase your site’s DA score to higher scores.
When your site is brand new, you start at a DA of 1. However, over time, as you accrue links and grow in size, trustworthiness, and popularity, the DA number will increase.
DA is updated monthly, and you can quickly check from the Open Site Explorer that Moz provides the comparative metric.
If your competition has higher DAs than yours, it’s a good indicator that you need to work on your search engine optimization strategies and improve your website.
As a search engine ranking score, your site’s DA is essential. That’s because it predicts the likelihood that your site will rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
DA scores are based on data from Moz’s Link Explorer web index. It uses a wide range of factors in its computation.
However, the actual DA calculation uses machine learning models. This way, it’s easy to find the best-fit algorithm predictively, which correlates Moz’s link data with rankings over thousands of actual search results Moz uses to scale against.
By nature, Moz isn’t a perfect metric. It can provide basic directional insights into how your site performs compared to the larger scheme of things.
DA also indicates the likelihood that your site will rank highly in SERPs for a specific keyword-based on competitor sites.
Ultimately, your site’s DA won’t impact revenue, so it’s not something you must monitor monthly. However, if you prefer to do that, you can install Moz’s Chrome toolbar and see your site’s DA each time you open it.
If your site’s DA improves, it’s a strong indicator that the SEO performance is also improving, and your site can rank better in SERPs than competing sites.
DA is a result of an evaluation of multiple factors. These factors include the total number of links and linking root domains that together form one DA score.
You can use the DA score to compare websites or track the site’s ranking strength over time. However, DA isn’t a ranking factor and doesn’t affect SERPs.
By early 2019, the calculation of DA scores was done by machine learning algorithm predictions about the frequency of the domain used in Google’s search results.
Consequently, if one domain appears more in Google’s SERPs compared to another, we’d expect that site’s DA to be higher.
Your site’s score will keep fluctuating because DA is based on machine learning computations. These calculations are also dependent on the availability of data points on your site.
For instance, if your site acquires one thousand new links, other sites’ DAs would drop relative to yours. That’s because the more authoritative, established, and quality links your site gets, the higher the DA assigned to it.
It’s no wonder that it’s easier to grow your site’s DA score from a lower DA of 20-30 to higher DAs of 70-80. Therefore DA isn’t an absolute metric; rather, it’s used mainly for comparison purposes to investigate sites with more powerful link profiles than yours.
Trust Flow and Domain Authority (DA) may have several similarities, which include:
- They both use logarithmic scales of 1-100
- They’re both impacted by the number and quality of backlinks to your site
- They don’t have an impact on your site’s ranking
- They’re not actual ranking factors
However, several things make the two metrics different. Let’s look at each of these below:
Trust Flow is a metric by Majestic, an SEO software tool used for analyzing links on a website.
Domain Authority is a metric created by Moz, a company that builds tools that make inbound marketing, SEO, content marketing, and link building easy.
Trust Flow is used to indicate how well the trusted sites link to your site. The more the trusted links to your site, the higher your site’s Trust Flow.
Domain Authority is used to predict the likelihood that your site will rank in the SERPs. The higher the rank, the better the chance of ranking.
Trust Flow is a trademarked metric so there’s no way to know the formula Majestic uses to calculate the metric. However, you can
On the other hand, Domain Authority is calculated by evaluating several factors such as the total number of links and linking root domains. However, unlike Trust Flow, which is influenced by the quality of backlinks from trusted sites, domain authority can still improve even if your site has tons of low authority links.
Trust Flow considers several factors, including:
- The amount of traffic that flows through a link to your website
- Relevance of the linking site to your website
- Number of links that link to your website
- Not conducting regular backlink audits
Domain Authority on the other hand, is affected by these factors:
- Quality of your site’s content
- Linking root domains
- Social signals
- MozRank and MozTrust
- Search engine friendliness
- Too many similar keyword anchor texts
- Lack of activity on your website
- Keyword stuffing
- Slow site and page load speeds
- Outdated technical search engine optimization
- No social posting
- Not optimizing your posts
- Too many spammy backlinks
There are a few subtle differences based on how you improve your site’s Trust Flow vs its DA:
Trust Flow: you can use strategies such as creating quality content, guest posting on high authority sites, getting press coverage, or building relationships with influencers. Y
ou can also use SEO software and mention monitoring tools to track your competitors and see where they get their Trust Flow links from.
Domain Authority: you can use strategies like getting more high authority links than spammy ones, even though the latter can still increase your DA.
Make sure the links are from legit sites with real traffic. We also recommend ensuring that your site is a great resource for readers to increase traffic and domain authority.
It’s not enough to track the number of backlinks to your site from influential seed sites or spammy sites. You also need to check and measure their quality and increase your site’s authority.
If you’re familiar with Trust Flow and DA, you know that as these metrics improve, it’s a sign that your SEO efforts are finally bearing fruit.
That said, these metrics aren’t linked in any way to Google’s algorithm, so you still need to keep working towards improving other metrics.