Link Building 101: What You Need To Know About Referring Domains


In this article, we will be going over what a referring domain is and what backlinks are.

All of these terms can sound confusing at first, but they really aren’t!

What Is A Referring Domain?

A referring domain is what’s called the “domain which links to your website.”

Essentially, a referring domain is a website that a visitor came from to get to your site.

As an example, let’s say you were going to buy a new phone online.

You did your research on and read a couple of reviews on the latest phones. You found one that you like and clicked on a link to Amazon to purchase your new phone.

In this case, would be the referring domain, and Amazon would be the destination URL.

In other words, when someone clicks on a link from one site to another, the first site is considered the referring domain.

This is what a referring domain does – it refers people from one site to another.

What’s The Difference Between Referring Domains And Backlinks?

There’s a subtle difference between referring domains and backlinks, but it’s an important one!

A referring domain is a website domain where your backlinks are coming from. A backlink is 1 or more links from a website that links back to your site.

Here are some examples to help clarify that statement:

  • 1st scenario: you received one backlink from the New York Times – you would have 1 referring domain.
  • 2nd scenario: you received one backlink from the New York Times, and one from Huffington Post – that counts as 2 referring domains.
  • 3rd scenario: you have 5 backlinks from the Huffington Post – that only count as 1 referring domain.

Essentially, a referring domain is a website where your backlinks are coming from, whereas a backlink is just one link from that website.

Why Are Referring Domains Important For Seo?

Referring Domains are important for SEO because they are one of the many factors that Google looks at when determining a website’s ranking.

Having a lot of referring domains is what search engines use to determine how popular your site is.

How Do Referring Domains Impact Your Seo?

If a search engine sees what it deems as credible websites referring their readers over to you and your website, they will see this as an endorsement from those sites.

In turn, they’ll rank you higher in SERPs (search engine results pages) for the keywords that you’re targeting.

As an added bonus, the higher your site ranks in SERPs, the more traffic you’ll get!

In other words, the more referring domains that link to your site, the better!

However, not all referring domains are good links.

Just because a website links to your site doesn’t mean that their link is valuable or will help improve your SEO. 

That’s why it’s important to keep track of your backlinks and referring domains so you can determine what’s helping you rank higher and what isn’t.

How To Check Backlinks And Referring Domains

Now that you know what a referring domain is and what they can do for your SEO, how can you go about finding them?

Thankfully, there are a few ways to check the referring domains and backlinks of your website.

The tool that I use is called Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is a web-based application that shows what websites have linked to your site, what keywords they used in the anchor text of their backlink, and what types of links they are (doFollow or nofollow).

It’s an incredibly powerful tool for checking what sites and what pages on your site are getting the most backlinks and referring domains.

In the screenshot above, you can see how Ahrefs breaks down your website into UR (URL Rating) and DR (Domain Rating)

The higher your DR is, the more referring domains you have linking to your website!

This gives you an idea of what the search engine giant thinks about how much authority your site has!

As a general rule, the more high-DR websites you have as links to your website, the higher your DR will be.

The higher your DR, the more likely Google will rank your site higher for the keywords that you’re targeting.

How To Acquire More Referring Domains To Your Website

Now that you know what referring domains are and how they can help your SEO, what’s the best way to go about acquiring more of them?

Here are a few tips:

  • Guest Blogging: This is one of my favorite methods for acquiring high-quality links. When you guest blog on another website, not only do you get a link back to your site, but the website that hosts you gets an extra referring domain.
  • Social Media: This one might seem pretty obvious, but social media is what helped me rank higher in SERPs when I first started blogging! The more followers and likes you get on your posts, the more likely search engines are going to deem you as an authoritative website.
  • Infographics: Another great way to acquire links is by creating infographics and then submitting them to infographic submission websites. This can help get your site in front of new audiences who might not have heard of you before!
  • Broken Link Building: This is a great way to acquire links from high-quality websites. All you have to do is find broken links on their website and reach out to them letting them know about the mistake. Offer to create a new, updated version of the infographic or article they were linking to and include a link back to your site.

For more tips on acquiring referring domains, be sure to check out my blog post: “15 POWERFUL Link Building Strategies To Rank Higher On Google


Having a lot of referring domains is what will help you rank higher in search engines, but not all referring domains are created equal.

It’s important to keep track of what sites and pages on your site have the most backlinks and what types they are (doFollow or nofollow).

This information can be found through tools like Ahrefs.

In order to get the most backlinks and referring domains, you should focus on what works for your site.

Some sites might have better luck with guest blogging, while others will see a higher return from social media.

No matter what link building technique you choose to employ, just remember that quality always trumps quantity!

Need Help With Backlinks?

If you’re having trouble acquiring backlinks or don’t know where to start, I’d be more than happy to help!

I run a link building agency that helps businesses and bloggers acquire high-quality backlinks to their site. All without having to do any of the work themselves!

Feel free to reach out to me if you’re interested in learning more about what we do!