UK based Majestic SEO have just released two new tools for measuring the importance and trustworthiness of links coming to a website. These tools are called ‘Flow Metrics’, and may form a valuable addition to current methods of measuring the site’s performance.
Some of the most common metrics used by SEO professionals today are PageRank and MozRank. PageRank was co-designed by Larry Page, one of the founders of Google, in the late 1990s. It was one of the first algorithms developed to try to measure a site’s importance by counting the number of links pointing to it from elsewhere on the web. It also gives more weight to links coming from sites which have a high PageRank themselves. MozRank, developed by SEOMoz, works in a similar way. Majestic SEO’s Flow Metrics, however, seem to have a number of advantages over both of these.
Two Metrics for the Price of One
One clear advantage of the new metrics is that there are two of them which can be used in combination. One of these, Citation Flow, is an improvement on Majestic SEO’s old AC Rank metric. While it is superficially similar to PageRank and other algorithms, Citation Flow looks at links as a continuous chain, with clicks flowing along this chain. This means that links further away from the page itself can still have an influence, although the ‘self decaying algorithm’ Majestic have used means that distant links have less weight. The new metric also examines internal links, which has not been done before; without the decay built in to the algorithm this would have been impossible, as two pages linking to each other would create an endless loop of links.
The second Flow Metric, Trust Flow, also sees links as a chain, but is focused on the trustworthiness of those links. By manually assigning trust values to a large number of URLs from their database, Majestic have identified areas of the web which contain more trustworthy sites. As these sites tend to link to other trusted sites, it is possible to assign a Trust Flow value to any particular page or domain.
The best thing about flow metrics is that you can use them to create a cool-looking graph. Majestic’s Site Explorer tool plots a scattergram of the two metrics, giving each link to a website one dot, showing its Citation and Trust Flow (out of 100). The resulting graph shows clusters of links, with dark colours representing a greater concentration of links on that area of the graph. As links towards the top right of the graph have greater Citation and Trust Flow values, it is desirable to have more colour in that area. Most links, though, will be in the bottom left, and sites with few links will have a rather empty looking graph.
Take Wikipedia’s graph for example. As an extremely popular, high authority site, there is a lot of colour, showing the huge number of sites linking to the home page. While there is a large concentration of purple in the bottom left, the graph also extends a long way towards the top right, meaning that some links pointing at Wikipedia have Citation and Trust Flow scores of over 90.
As Flow Metrics are based on a 100 point scale, they are arguably easier to understand than PageRank and MozRank, which use a 10 point logarithmic scale. With the older tools, the difference between 1 and 2 is much smaller than the distance between 9 and 10, for example, making it harder to judge how much progress is needed to reach the next level.
For more information on Flow Metrics, and to find out how their analysis can help your business, contact KPI. As SEO specialists, Flow Metrics are just one of the tools we use to measure the effectiveness of our internet marketing strategies.