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Authority Domains vs. Authority Links


We are delighted that Positionly has recently chosen to use Majestic link data exclusively. It is perhaps only when you see just how spammy some people have become that you start to realize the value of a quality metric like Trust Flow.

We just analyzed more than 100 million domains.

We had one of our big data experts run some routines of the entire Majestic data to highlight the point. We found that JUST OVER 90% of all domains (not just links) have no Trust whatsoever. So, 9 out of 10 fields have no signal of quality at all. It really will not make any difference how ‘good” the content is unless it starts to get talked about; they are like printed brochures, still in their boxes, stored in cellars and lockups.

Our research was based on a list of more than 100 million domains. Only two fields succeeded in a Trust Flow of 100, and just 80 more in the highest percentile of sites between 90 and 100. This list is given later in this blog post for those interested!

Getting a link from a big site is NOT in itself enough.

Did you know you already have lots of links from the World’s biggest website? If you can find yourself in Google’s search results – that’s a link right there! These links don’t show up in Majestic data, of course, because we do not scrape Google SERPs, but that does not mean they don’t exist. It also does not mean that they count. Indeed, links in Google search results (apart from redirecting through Google tracking URLs before a user gets to your website) exist BECAUSE Google has decided other signals of quality live that warrant showing a link to your site.

In other words, Google needs another signal to know when to show your site in the results, and static links from other pages on the Internet are what they are looking out for. But they are not looking for quantity; they are looking for needles of Trust signals in a haystack of junk. Junk appears everywhere on the Internet, even on pages that you might think are important.

Example 1:

A link from the eBay terms of service vs a link from a product listing of eBay. eBay is a very powerful domain. However, eBay does not link to all its auctions from the home page! Indeed, they relate to almost NO items from their home page. But every sale item page has a link to the eBay home page. This means that (as with most websites) Trust tends to accumulate towards the home page of most websites. It is not universally true, but in eBay’s case, it is very possible to have links on eBay on pages that have absolutely virtually links to them at all. It also stands to reason, by the way, that store owners on eBay are able to create links over time to their online store, making their stores on eBay (and therefore items sold in the stores) more trustworthy than occasional sellers.

Example 2:

Time can enhance or detract from link quality. I once had a link from the BBC.co.uk. It was an article about Christmas and how we were moving towards the Internet to buy presents. It was an article written in December 2003 and still exists today. The original story has little relevance in today’s World, as we now all buy from the Internet, but it still has some Trust Flow because (in part) I occasionally wheel it out to prove you do not have to be a PLC to get a link from the BBC:


At around the same time in 2003, there was an article in the BBC that talked about the up-and-coming company called “Amazon”. You might have heard of them. Well, that page on the BBC is also still there, but not only does the BBC not link to it – neither does the rest of the World, so the Trust Flow for that page (at the time of writing) was non-existent:


So, there is a big difference between getting a link on a website and getting a GOOD link on a website.

What is the Average Trust Flow of a site?

Back to our Big Data analysis at Majestic. We decided to pull together some headline stats for Positionly so they could share them with you.

The Average Trust Flow of a Website is…

Trust flow Average  25%ile   Median   75%ile 
All domains  2.35 0.0 0.0 1.0
text backlinks > 0   5.19 0.0 2.0 8.0

The Average Citation Flow of a Website is…

Citation flow Average  25%ile   Median   75%ile
All domains  4.60  0.0  0.0  8.0
text backlinks > 0     10.17  5.0  9.0  14.0

The Average number of referring domains to a website is…

Ref domains Average  25%ile   Median   75%il
All domains  39.45  0.0  0.0  4.0
text backlinks > 0    87.11  2.0  5.0  20.0

But lots of these domains must be doing some pretty low-level linking because the average number of backlinks to a website is:

Extbacklinks  Average  25%ile   Median   75%ile 
All domains  13178  0.0  0.0  18.0
extbacklinks>0   29100  4.0  26.0  236.0

Wait! That last Table is VERY new… Pay attention!
That last table is actually quite interesting. Even though, on average, a website has 13,178 backlinks, the MEDIAN has NO BACKLINKS AT ALL! That means that over half of the domains on the Internet have no backlinks whatsoever.

So, what IS a Trustworthy link?

In Majetsic’s Flow Metrics, a food link would start by being one from a PAGE that has good Trust Flow, not a SITE that has good Trust Flow. Unfortunately, it is not always possible, when analyzing four trillion pages, to give you a score that is always universally accurate.

Our crawlers will under-represent links from pages we cannot crawl, for example. The links might be no-followed or may be discounted for other reasons. But looking at the strength of individual pages is a good start, although you will, in the process, get a little depressed when you see just how many web pages on the Internet seem to count for nothing!

So, what are the World’s most Trusted Sites?

I promised earlier in this post to list the World’s most trustworthy sites based on Majestic Trust Flow. With the caveat well made that a link from a good site is NOT a good indicator of a Good link (although a good PAGE on a site may be a good indicator of a good connection), here is a list of the real cream of the crop.

Domain and trust flow

Twitter.com  – 100
Wikipedia.org  – 100
imdb.com – 99
google.com – 99
youtube.com – 98
facebook.com – 98
adobe.com – 98
w3.org – 97
apache.org – 97
instagram.com – 97
apple.com – 97
sourceforge.net – 96
wordpress.org – 96
microsoft.com – 96
googletagmanager.com – 96
yahoo.com – 96
bbc.co.uk – 95
mozilla.org – 95
statcounter.com – 95
nps.gov – 95
nih.gov – 95
newadvent.org – 95
flickr.com – 94
vimeo.com – 94
linkedin.com – 94
www.gov.uk – 94
amazon.com – 94
pinterest.com – 94
oracle.com – 94
gnu.org – 93
php.net – 93
gc.ca – 93
ietf.org – 93
cia.gov – 93
cdc.gov – 93
qq.com – 93
nasa.gov – 93
sina.com.cn – 93
cnn.com – 93
Europa. eu – 93
loc.gov – 92
ca.gov – 92
unesco.org – 92
noaa.gov – 92
gouv.fr – 92
blogspot.com – 92
tumblr.com – 92
stanford.edu – 92
who. int – 92
creativecommons.org – 91
berkeley.edu – 91
marriott.com – 91
usda.gov – 91
census.gov – 91
usa.gov – 91
github.com – 91
mit.edu – 91
house.gov – 91
whitehouse.gov – 91
pbs.org – 91
163.com – 91
cpanel.com – 91
un.org – 90
harvard.edu – 90
epa.gov – 90
shinystat.com – 90
joomla.org – 90
feedburner.com – 90
mysql.com – 90
ibm.com – 90
rottentomatoes.com – 90
zend.com – 90
lycos.com – 90
ed.gov – 90
go.com – 90
cpanel.net – 90
free.fr – 90
nba.com – 90
parallels.com – 90