Citation Flow is a trademark quantity metric developed by software company Majestic.com to predict the quality of a website based on its popularity – or the number of links pointing to it. Every link pointing to a site has a Citation Flow value between 0-100 with a higher number indicating a higher quality value. Citation Flow also determines the link equity or influence, your site has and may pass on.
Citation Flow is used alongside their other flow metric, Trust Flow, which primarily focuses on determining the trustworthiness of a site by seeing how closely it is linked to a site known to be trustworthy. Ultimately the ratio of Trust Flow and Citation Flow is used to assess the overall authority of a website based on its backlink profile. The closer the ratio between the two metrics, the better as this indicates that the majority of the backlinks are of good quality.
Ideally, you want every link you acquire to be a trustworthy link, represented by a citation-to-trust ratio of 1:1. However, the average CF-to-TF ratio is closer to 2:1, or 50%. Anything below this means that the majority of your links are low quality.
Majestic is a third-party tool and its metrics are not used by Google as a ranking factor, however, Flow Metrics can be a useful indicator of quantity which can aid search marketers when making strategic decisions.