Edit: The Recalibration of KC has now been completed. Details can be found here

As you may have noticed, we recently rolled out a rather large update to Long Tail Pro.

Going forward, we will be replacing Moz metrics with Majestic metrics. If you’re interested in learning about why we decided to make this change, check out this blog post that Spencer put up on Niche Pursuits.

Essentially, it boils down to the following three points:

  • Majestic has significantly more information in their Backlink Index (Historical Index).
  • Majestic has significantly more up-to-date information in their Backlink Index (Fresh Index).
  • Majestic has better metrics and helps the user understand them better than Moz does.

You may have noticed that with the latest version of Long Tail Pro, there have been some fluctuations with KC. Some users have commented that they see that KC scores are coming in somewhat higher than they have in the past. Most of you (platinum users anyways) will have seen this graphic in the past:

keyword-competitiveness

We’re aware of this issue and we plan to re-calibrate KC so that the old rule (KC under 30 being a good KW to target) will apply, but for the moment we suggest users look for KWs under KC 40 rather than 30.

We anticipate that we will have the KC scores tweaked within 3 weeks, possibly sooner.

We apologize for the inconvenience this might cause, but we really do believe that using Majestic metrics will be better in the long run for all our users as their data is just more comprehensive and more accurate.

Some users have also been asking how they should examine SERP results with Majestic data versus Moz data. To address these user concerns, we’ve decided to put together a brief guide on how to use each of the Majestic metrics (this is outside of KC score).

LTP Majestic Expanded

The first and most important thing to understand about the Majestic data we provide is the difference between Citation Flow and Trust Flow.

In simple terms, Citation Flow measures the number of links to a page or domain – it’s purely a quantitative measure used to measure the volume of links.

Trust Flow measures the quality of the links to a page or domain. The way that Majestic has this setup is that there are a group of sites that they deem trustworthy – for example, sites like Wikipedia or the New York Times website might be considered high quality, reliable, trustworthy sites. A site that gets a ton of links from trustworthy sites like these is probably also quite trustworthy. From there, the trust ‘flows’ with each link, with the amount of trust from a link reducing the further you get from the ‘trustworthy’ original site at the top of the chain of links.

We use a mixture of TF and CF to calculate the new KC score – we do this because both the quantity and quality of links matter when it comes to ranking.

The reason why there is ‘Trust Flow’ and ‘Citation Flow’ as well as ‘Domain TF’ and ‘Domain CF’ is because Majestic has opted not to name it’s domain metrics separately – so we can check the TF/CF of a domain as well as the TF/CF of a page.

This is slightly different from Moz, where they’ve split what is essentially metric into two by naming them ‘Domain Authority’ and ‘Page Authority’.

Essentially, some mixture of Domain TF and CF would correspond to Moz’s Domain Authority, and some mixture of the ‘Trust Flow’ and ‘Citation Flow’ columns in the above image would correspond to Moz’s Page Authority.

The key difference here would be the Majestic index is larger, and so we believe that the Majestic metrics are therefore more accurate than the Moz metrics.

Some users have also been wondering what values they should be targeting with regards to TF/CF and their domain equivalents – as a rough guide, here are our suggested targets for users who have relatively new sites that have gained some traction and that already have some kind of small link profile:

Page CF: Below 35

Page TF: Below 20

Domain CF: Below 55

Domain TF: Below 40

For users who are literally just starting their sites now, we’d recommend even lower targets – in this case, the goal is not to target the average numbers – the goal is to find SERPs with keywords that have at least 4 or 5 results within these guidelines (it will be very rare to find keywords that have averages that are below these figures – the idea is that you want at least 4 or 5 results that you can confidently say that you’ll be able to beat).

Page CF: Below 20

Page TF: Below 10

Domain CF: Below 40

Domain TF: Below 20

Keep in mind that these are only rough guidelines – analyzing SERPs is a skill that you build over time, and that’s the whole reason why we offer our proprietary Keyword Competitiveness score, which takes into account not only the TF/CF metrics, but also Title/url targeting, site age, and a variety of other factors.

Also, you should factor in the idea that even though the ‘average’ metrics across a SERP might not be beatable, if there are a number of particularly weak results in any given SERP, its possible that you can beat out those results. For example, a SERP with results from Wikipedia, Youtube, and Amazon would have very high average Domain TF/CF scores, but if the remaining 7 results are all pretty weak, it may still be worth targeting.

The column ‘External Backlinks’ measures the number of links that the individual page has pointing to it. ‘Referring Domains’ measures the number of external domains that have links pointing to the individual page, and EDU/GOV measures the number of links that the page has from .edu or .gov domains (these are generally considered very strong links).

‘Internal Links’ measure the number of links the page has from other pages on the same domain, and ‘Indexed URLs’ measures the number of pages that Majestic sees the domain has (i.e the size of the site).

Hopefully with an explanation of some of the new columns you see in the updated Long Tail Pro, users will be more comfortable using the new and improved data.

We’ve also got some big more big updates to Long Tail Pro coming up in the next few weeks – including a much awaited cloud version of Long Tail Pro that runs in you browser. We’re really quite excited for that, and we think you should be too. Stay tuned for that!

For Platinum users of LTP, if you have any questions about the switch to majestic, do feel free to leave a comment in the VIP group and we’ll get back to you as promptly as we can – alternatively, feel free to leave a comment here.

Once again, if you want to delve more deeply into the reasons we made the switch, go check out Spencer’s post about it on Niche Pursuits.