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We recently had the pleasure of welcoming Majestic’s Dixon Jones (@Dixon_Jones) to the #KoozAcademy to give us a complete understanding of what is possibly one of the most important tools for SEO and the content needed for researching and monitoring websites.
Majestic is a tool designed to help understand relationships between websites through backlinks in a similar way to Google. This helps determine the value of each web page. In basic terms, pages with a higher quality and quantity of links are much more likely to be important to web users than pages with only one or two links from lower-quality sources. Majestic is one of the leading tools publically available to help identify backlink value to a web page.
This post will cover how you can use Majestic for SEO, content marketing and new business. We have separated the post into four main categories to make it easier to find the most relevant part for you:
Firstly, it’s important to understand the fundamental aspects of Majestic in order to get the most accurate and relevant results for your website.
Majestic works primarily at a URL level, Dixon made it clear that the backlink value is designed to be calculated on an individual URL-level basis, so bear this in mind when comparing sites at a root or subdomain level only. At URL level, the data is most accurate and can provide information regarding the quantity, quality and topics for the links that are pointing to the web page.
Using a URL-level analysis, you can compare different pages ranking for certain keywords to help build a picture of where improvements need to be made to your own page to increase its visibility in search rankings.
You are also able to analyse backlink data at path, subdomain or domain level. These allow for a quick comparison between domains and help when conducting backlink analysis as they allow us to include all links that point to pages across a whole domain. However, the Trust Flow/Citation Flow summaries are an amalgamation of this data and may be slightly less accurate than specifically URL-based analysis.
There are two types of link indices for which Majestic provides website data. Both often provide very different results, and it’s important that any comparisons between web pages use the same index. More often than not, the Fresh Index is the most appropriate one for comparison because it’s updated daily and features up-to-date links; what’s more, any external link that provides some authority is likely to be crawled during the fresh cycle.
The Fresh Index features every link that Majestic has crawled during the last 90 days. This will include links that have previously been discovered and recrawled during this period. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the link has been created in the last three months; it just means that the link has been detected during this time.
The Historic Index contains every backlink that Majestic has detected for a domain, subdomain or page and that is useful for an in-depth backlink analysis. This generally contains the data in the Fresh Index as well as backlinks that Majestic hasn’t crawled in the last 90 days. URLs that only appear in the Historic Index may suggest that it does not provide much value and may be best ignored in backlink comparisons.
When using Majestic, two phrases commonly appear: Trust Flow and Citation Flow. Both are important in determining the quality of links pointing to a website, and they should be used together. Citation Flow is based on the number of links that point to a website and Trust Flow is the perceived quality of those links. By combining these statistics in a ratio, you can to gain an insight into whether a URL’s backlink profile is full of low- or high-quality links.
In theory, a URL with a high Trust Flow and low Citation Flow has mainly high-quality links pointing towards it. The World Bank (www.worldbank.org/) has a Trust Flow of 78 and Citation Flow of 69, giving a ratio of 1.13. This positive number suggests that the backlink profile is relatively strong. The link profile graph gives similar information in a visual format.
In the Backlinks tab, you can see (image below) that the flow metrics are separated by URL and domain. This helps show how important the actual page linking to the site actually is based on backlinks and how important the domain that the page is part of is in providing an indication of the site’s strength.
Topical Trust Flow is a metric designed to increase the information Majestic gives about each URL by showing which are the most relevant topics based purely on a URL’s backlinks. This is really helpful in providing initial details about how useful to a site a backlink is and whether it is likely to be natural and relevant and provide useful strength to a URL for ranking purposes.
Majestic has developed into an unbelievably good platform for backlink discovery and has a great deal of data on how the web is linked together. This data is extremely useful for SEO, not just because of penalties from Google but also for discovering the connections and relationships between pretty much any website. The data helps with understanding the competition, building a brand, developing better online relationships and enhancing a website’s visibility.
Top Tip: To avoid using too much of your Majestic allowance, you can verify the domain through additional site code or Google Search Console.
One of the basic elements of getting a URL to rank on a modern search engine is the power of its backlinks. Identifying a strong link profile includes looking at backlink relevance, Trust Flow, number of backlinks and referring domains. Fortunately, Majestic has an option that allows you to compare these metrics across multiple URLs or domains quickly.
One great tool through which to do this with Majestic is the ‘Compare’ option above the search bar on the site. This allows you to see URLs/domains side by side and thereby understand what the SERP leaders have in terms of backlinks and what you may need to improve on to increase rankings in the future. The ‘Compare’ option allows up to five separate targets to be compared in terms of backlink profiles, history, topics, cliques and whether they appear in the Majestic million or not.
The ‘Compare’ tool provides a comparison table providing statistics individually, which is great for quickly referencing the backlink strength of each target.
The tabs on the comparison page also allow you to quickly identify the topics most associated with the backlink profile, as shown below.
Anchor text used to be a strong metric for rankings, as sites ranked higher with exact match anchor text based around the product or service that they offered, for example ‘loans’. This has become much less relevant now, and search engines are likely to see sites with a large number of exact match anchor text links as deliberately trying to manipulate search rankings.
With the change in algorithms, especially from Google, exact match anchor text is much less desirable, and is often a prime reason for a manual or algorithmic penalty from Penguin. The ‘Anchor Text’ tool in Majestic Site Explorer allows you to search for and identify sites that are using exact match anchor text to check that these links are not unnatural or potentially harming a website.
The word cloud on the page indicates how often the word is used in backlinks and can be clicked on to show all the sites using that term. Ideally, the largest words in the cloud should be your brand and any sub-brands as this is how the majority of people would link to a website naturally.
One great thing about this tool is that it provides the primary Topical Trust Flow alongside the anchor text, which consolidates all Topical Trust Flow from every backlink that contains specific text, allowing you to see quickly if it matches with the right topic for a website.
One of Majestic’s party pieces is the amount of information you can gather from a competitor’s link profile. The tool is essential in conducting a comprehensive competitor analysis because it provides both full data and summaries of every backlink that has been found and when it was discovered.
The Site Explorer, along with the ‘Compare’ option, Link Profile Fights and Clique Hunter, provides useful data to help understand a competitor’s site. The Bucket List feature allows you to create a list of up to 100 domains for easy reference and comparison. It can be found in the account dropdown at the top of each page. All backlink data for each URL/domain can be exported to Excel and combined to find strong backlinks for your competitors based on Trust Flow, Topical Trust Flow and referring domains.
The ‘Compare’ option, found above the search bar, allows for a detailed comparison of key statistics including subnets, IP addresses and backlink quantity and quality. It’s a great place to begin understanding the size of a competitor and your chances of ranking above them in terms of site strength.
As previously mentioned, this tool also allows you to compare the main topics across both sites for more accurate top-level analysis. The ‘Backlink History’ tab can give insight into when the site began to grow and this data can be used for further analysis into why it gained additional backlinks, such as good content or press coverage of the company.
Sites can be added to the Bucket List and then selected individually to use for each comparison tool on the right-hand side of the page. These tools will appear in colour once you have selected the right number of domains to use each tool; for example, the Clique Hunter requires at least two domains and will show only if two or more are ticked.
The Clique Hunter is an innovation in discovering backlinks that competitors have but your site does not. To use the tool, simply navigate to the Clique Hunter and input multiple domains. This will lead to a chart and table that show the main sites providing backlinks for all the domains. The table can be exported into Excel so that you can sort the data however you wish, such as by finding all the sites that link to competitors but do not contain a link to your website.
The options at the top of the page allow you to extend the size of the analysis to include more backlinks as well as to include different types of data, such as Trust Flow, to help identify the strongest links for the site.
Using Topical Trust Flow, you can quickly decipher which links are strong and relevant. This allows you to form a marketing strategy based on what has worked in the past.
A real insight into Majestic was learning about the ability to use the platform to begin a site audit. In addition to the backlink analysis that can be carried out from the data provided, the ‘Pages’ tab can help show redirects, ‘404 Not Found’ errors and even canonical issues.
Using the backlink data, the ‘Pages’ tab shows every page on a domain that has been externally linked to and displays the crawl result of this page. This is especially useful after a site migration or major change to the URL structure to avoid losing huge amounts of backlink value for URLs that are showing as ‘404 Not Found’ errors.
As well as this useful information, this feature can also help indicate which pages are the most important for a domain in terms of external backlinks. This data can then be used to analyse which are most important to an organisation. In theory, these should be similar, and questions need to be asked if they are not!
Majestic can show which other sites are on the same IP address and subnet as your website, which can be helpful for identifying spammy sites being hosted on shared servers. This information is obtained through the ‘Neighbourhood Checker’ found in ‘Tools’ >> ‘Link Map Tools’ >> ‘Neighbourhood Checker’. These sites could be using large amounts of bandwidth, potentially slowing access to your domain, and if this is full of spam domains, it may even have a negative impact on search rankings.
You can set up domains and URLs to be tracked continuously to provide an ongoing record of the Trust Flow and Topical Trust Flow. This can be useful to give an explanation of why search rankings have dropped or improved and rule out the link profile if a sudden or ongoing decline is seen for a domain.
In addition to tracking reports, you can use the Site Explorer to find new links discovered for a URL/domain and segment this into two-week periods to identify and correlate links from marketing activity. Bear in mind, though, that this this shows newly discovered links, so it doesn’t necessarily mean they have been created recently.
As well as new links, you can discover which links have been lost or deleted. This functions in the same way as the ‘New Links’ tab: the most recently lost links can be segmented into two-week time periods. This can be useful for ensuring that high-quality links aren’t being lost and, if they are, finding out quickly so you can take action to regain the link if possible.
Link Alerts allow you to set up a domain or URL and be informed when links are gained or lost after each fresh link cycle, each week or bi-weekly. If there are domains that you are aware of and want to ignore, you can add these to the suppression list. You can set up Link Alerts by navigating to your Dashboard and scrolling to the Link Alerts section.
Majestic has built in a useful function that allows you to add URLs to the crawler to improve the data within the tool. Although Majestic crawls millions of web pages, there are still some sites and pages that haven’t been discovered or aren’t being regularly crawled.
A good way to use this feature is to export Latest Links and Sample Links from Google Search Console and copy these into the URL Submitter. You can submit up to 100 per day, so you may need to upload these over multiple days for bigger profiles. The Majestic crawler is then more likely to access these pages, although it’s not guaranteed to do so. Having this additional data in the profile can provide a more accurate view of a backlink profile.
Majestic has a couple of browser extensions for Google Chrome and Firefox that allow quick access to key statistics for a domain. This is great for planning for outreach or to identify low-quality websites that have little to no link profile. The screenshot shows how much data the widget provides.
The Majestic API is excellent because of the amount of data Majestic holds for backlinks. Using the API, you can integrate this data source with external tools such as Kerboo and URL profiler. This can help save time and increase the quality of an in-depth backlink analysis of a domain: it does a lot of the grunt work involved in bulk URL checking, so you can focus on the poor-quality links that need to be manually reviewed first.
Majestic has other functions that make further use of the backlink data they have collected. We’ve listed a couple of features below;
Reviewing Twitter handles: in the same way as you would look at the backlink profile for a URL, you can use Majestic to analyse the strength of a Twitter profile. By typing a Twitter username in the search bar, backlink statistics will appear for that Twitter handle.
Keyword searching and competitiveness: you can use the Search Explorer tool to search for keywords as you would on any other search engine. This will produce a set of results based solely on Backlink Trust Flow and Topical Trust Flow. This can be invaluable for understanding sites’ ranking ability based purely on their external link profile, and can help you to see whether the priority should be on building high-quality links or other aspects of SEO when setting up a marketing strategy. This tool is still in production, though, so the results are variable.
Majestic has developed into more than just a tool for backlink analysis; it is also useful for many areas of digital marketing, including researching and writing content for websites. It can help identify relationships between websites and show what has already been successful in a specific industry to help reduce the guesswork involved in developing content.
Majestic’s ‘Labs’ section, which is accessible from the Dashboard, provides some unusual ways of modelling data, including one useful feature known as Social Explorer. This is displayed as a wheel of data that separates individual topics using a main topic that is then broken down into sub-topics.
This tool can help define who the thought leaders in an industry are by displaying the top Twitter profiles. It also links to each profile to reveal what the people in question would be interested in. The range of topics is vast, so it’s likely that you will find the industry you need.
In the image below, we’ve chosen theme parks to show how specialist some of the industries can be if you need them to be. By clicking on this segment of the wheel, the top 10 Twitter profiles that Majestic has based on Trust Flow in this industry can be displayed, allowing you to identify the influencers in this industry and the types of content that they share with their followers. This provides an excellent basis on which to begin researching an effective content plan.
The Majestic widget for Chrome and Firefox that I mentioned earlier is ideal for quickly analysing and reviewing prospective websites as potential outreach opportunities. The widget displays key information about a URL, subdomain and domain, as well as recent backlink history, to give key details for a website. This level of detail is ideal when beginning research into an outreach website.
If you combine the data provided by this tool with social shares, you can very easily establish the potential influence that a website may have on its audience. Once this information is established, you can create a shortlist of websites that require further analysis to help understand whether each website has the right Topical Trust Flow and produces content that will appeal to the right target audience.
By using Majestic in this way, you can not only speed up the process of initially analysing potentially strong domains but also improve the quality of the domains that you are trying to outreach to by cross-checking the site profile with social sharing.
The ‘Compare’ tool mentioned above can also help by using a competitor’s site in the analysis to find links that the competitor has from strong, relevant websites that you don’t. If these sites already link to a competitor, they are much more likely to feature your content or link to a resource on your website, which is an excellent way to gain high-quality links.
One of the main objectives that businesses want to achieve by developing strong content is to improve the backlink profile of a website by encouraging relevant websites to link to that content. Understanding which content will resonate with external sites and the target audience, on the other hand, is often not so straightforward.
This is where Majestic can be really useful for researching content, because it will allow you to review the backlink strength of this content by running a specific URL through the tool. This allows you to find out how many sites have linked to that piece of content, the quality of those links, the topics of those links and how frequently those links appeared. This is great for determining whether people will share something similar and whether a particular type of content is evergreen.
If a number of strong pieces of content exist for the topic you want to write about, the ‘Compare’ option will allow you to display the statistics for a URL side by side for easy comparison. This comparison data can also be great for showing whether acquiring these backlinks is dependent on being an industry expert, thought leader or recognisable brand. This will help guide the content strategy.
The widget can also be used here, although it’s also key to take into account the Topical Trust Flow for specific content pieces.
Once you’ve carried out your research and planned, gained approval for and written your piece of content, it’s important to see if it is achieving the goals that you and external stakeholders were aiming for.
Firstly, you can use the Site Explorer to see a quick overview for the URL hosting the content. Then, diving further into that data, you can use the Backlink Explorer and New Links features to show exactly where the links are coming from. You can use this data to determine the quality of the links for this piece of content as well as for future outreach; it can also help you work more closely with quality sites to gain even better results from future content.
You can again use the ‘Track’ feature for the ongoing monitoring of the backlink profile or this specific URL and set up custom alerts to have emails sent to you every time Majestic discovers a new backlink. If Majestic is not finding some smaller but still relevant backlinks, they can still be added and included in the analysis by using the URL Submitter tool.
Web Bubbles is a feature that allows content writers to compare the site strength of two domains based around each topic. The larger the circle, the higher Trust Flow is for each topic. The image below shows the detail that can be obtained, with external links for the topic of ‘Law’ being compared to identify which is the most relevant site for that topic. This can help reduce the amount of time it would take to determine the priority sites for outreach.
The Topic Tree is a useful tool from the Majestic Labs that allows you to identify key topics for important pages on a website. It breaks down key subdirectories into topics with information about the main topic that links to these sections. This tool can help you see an overview of how a website is structured and which topics typically link to each of these subdirectories through external links.
With a bit of basic training, Majestic can be very useful for a sales team looking to process leads, gain initial insights and provide clear information for potential clients on how they could improve the visibility of their website.
The Majestic summary for a domain is a great place for a salesperson to begin. In seconds, it gives a rundown of important information that can be used to determine the size of a website. This is established through the quantity of backlinks combined with the Trust Flow, who the website appeals to in terms of external linking through Topical Trust Flow and Top Backlinks, and crucial data that helps provide information that a client may not otherwise be aware of in relation to the size and presence of their site and business online.
Unless new clients are well known, it can be difficult to understand the size of their industry, their main competitors and the size of the actual company requesting the work. These are all important factors to understand in the sales funnel because they help a salesperson to build up an image of what the client will require to be successful in their industry. Majestic can be used to help reduce the guesswork involved in this and provide meaningful data on any industry and website.
The platform can very quickly provide statistics on the number of backlinks that a site has, where they are coming from and their level of quality, as well as whether a company is growing its presence online, is well established, is in decline or is a new business. As well as providing information for each website, collating this data can allow you to understand if the industry often shares content or if it’s built on low-quality backlinking.
This information will allow a salesperson to create an impression of an industry without spending too much time or additional resources in the process. By using this data, the right service can be sold – that is, one that optimises not just generally for the web but also much more accurately for the industry and against competitors.
Setting a budget and objectives can be difficult for any marketing campaign. The client may just want to see an increase in revenue or a reduction in cost per acquisition, but how is this actually going to be delivered through a digital marketing plan?
Majestic can help provide empirical evidence with which to create a realistic target for a client. Understanding competitors and a specific industry helps indicate what can be achieved with the resources available and avoid unrealistic promises of rankings/search visibility improvements and overnight success.
The data gathered from Majestic can be used alongside services such as SEMRush or SISTRIX to show a website’s history and help identify if it has been hit by a penalty and the links that may have caused this to happen. This is vital as a negative history can have a huge impact on the site’s future potential. This can again help to form a realistic target for a campaign.
Another helpful feature for sales is the Search Explorer, which allows users to find the some of the strongest backlink profiles for an industry by searching for a few specific keywords. For each keyword, the top sites in terms of backlink profiles will be displayed in ranking order. A quick check of the backlinks for the strongest sites would also provide clear reasons for why websites are ranking to those pages.
For sales, it’s important to keep an eye on leads that didn’t turn into customers because they could bring another opportunity in the future. By using tracking reports from Majestic, you could track a lost opportunity over time to see if the site acquired new links or improved in any way.
If the site shows little growth, the data could provide information that can be used to show the client that the site has not acquired any quality links and then combine that data with ranking changes to show a lack of progress.
This evidence, based on the client’s website, will be much more effective than just previous experience and knowledge of other websites in showing a potential client what they are missing out on by not having a comprehensive digital strategy.
Majestic is a platform that can provide reliable data that we wouldn’t be able to get ourselves. It is impressive for backlink data, which anyone can use in their own way to assess the backlink profile of a URL or domain. The mix of easy-to-access statistics such as Topical Trust Flow and link profile comparisons also make this a comprehensive competitor analysis tool, which is essential when it comes to SEO and marketing in general.
The tools and features available from Majestic provide many ways to gain a deeper understanding of an industry and what is required to succeed in it. Features such as Site Explorer and Search Explorer speed up the process of content and competitive research, while the Backlink Explorer enables in-depth backlink analysis of pretty much any URL or domain you could be interested in. I would say that without the data offered up by Majestic, it would be much more difficult to plan and implement a successful digital marketing strategy.
Any individual or company can find a package suitable for their needs; the various options can be found on Majestic.com.
Samantha Noble is well known within in the search industry, she even won the UK Search Personality 2016 at the UK Search Awards in November. This year, she continues to make an impact on the industry by judging not only one, but three, prestigious industry awards.