How To Get More Referring Domains To Boost Your SEO Ranking


Feb 2023
seo ranking

Here’s a secret you might never have heard: Referring domains are a powerful tool for any SEO link-building strategy. Why? Because referring domains help you gain insights into how people find your website, but more importantly, they boost your search engine rankings.

So, if you’re looking to build your website’s authority and improve your SEO, then one metric you’ll want to keep an eye on is your referring domains. But what are referring domains? And how can you get more referring domains?

Referring domains are external websites linking to your website or webpage. The more referring domains you have, the better! This article will give tips on getting more referring domains for your website, how referring domains differ from backlinks and many other things you need to know about these domains. Follow all the way through to see how you can improve your site’s authority with referring domains.

Referring Domain Vs Backlink

In the complex world of SEO, newcomers often find themselves bewildered by the plethora of terms and metrics, especially when trying to understand “Referring Domains vs Backlinks.” What exactly constitutes a backlink, and how does it stand apart from referring domains?

A referring domain (also called a linking domain) is a website or webpage that hosts a link to your website. Backlinks definition, on the other hand, are the individual links within a referring domain pointing to your website. 

Backlinks can increase traffic sent from a referring domain. Here’s an example that breaks down the backlinks vs. referring domains. 

You own the website “XYZ” (a mountain hiking agency). Company ABC (an online store that sells gear for mountain hikers) found an intriguing story on your website about the importance of quality gear on hiking tours.

 ABC agency loves the story, and while writing their next blog, they add a link that refers their readers to the story on your website XYZ. So, when readers click on the link, it takes them to the XYZ page containing the story.

In this example, the website ABC is the “referring domain,” while the link in the ABC blog is a “backlink” to your own XYZ website.

A referring domain can have multiple backlinks, but a backlink can only come from one referring domain. So, if a referring domain has three backlinks to your website, that would be counted as three backlinks and one referring domain.

How Do You Track Referring Domains?

Tracking your referring domains can give you a picture of where your traffic is coming from. But before you track your referring domains, you should understand that there is a difference in the URL vs domain. The URL is a webpage’s full internet address; in contrast, the domain name is simply the name of the organization or individual entity.

You can check referring domains using various methods, but the most common is using a web analytics tool such as Google Analytics and Ahrefs. But as long as you can get the accurate reports you need, there’s no one best way to track your referring domains. 

To track referring domain using Google Analytics, follow these steps:

  • Search for “Acquisition” on the left-hand side of your dashboard
  • Select “All Traffic” 
  • Select” Referrals” on the drop-down list.
  • You’ll see a table containing a complete list of your referring domains and other reports.

It is simpler when you use Ahrefs to check referring domains. Here’s what to do:

  • Copy your website or webpage Url 
  • Paste into Ahrefs Site Explorer 
  • Then open the Referring domains report:

Why Are Referring Domains Important In SEO?

Referring domains are an important metric in SEO because they give you an idea of where your traffic is coming from. You can adjust your SEO strategy accordingly if you know where your traffic is coming from.

For example, if you see a lot of your traffic coming from Facebook, you should invest more time and resources into your Facebook marketing. Here are some reasons why referring domains is important in your SEO strategy.

  • Credibility: The more referring domains you have, the more valuable and high-ranking your site will become to search engines. Your site will rank higher and be more trustworthy if it has 10 backlinks from 10 different websites. In contrast, if you have 50 backlinks from only 10 domains, it may not have the same impact.
  • Traffic: According to Ahrefs, about 91% of web pages with no referring domains don’t receive organic traffic from search engines. If your web pages have high-quality referring domains linking back to them, you can gain more potential website visitors and engagement.
  • Conversion: the more visitors and engagement you generate from referring domains, the more conversion you are likely to get.

How to Get Referring Domains

Referring domains are one of the most important ranking factors for your website. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy to get as many referring domains as possible.

When done effectively, link-building with a referring domain approach yields excellent SEO outcomes. Here are some expert ideas on how to attract more high-value referring domains:

1. Analyze Your Referring Domains

To get the most accurate picture of your referring domains, you need to use tools to track them over time. Google Analytics is an excellent option, as it’s free and easy to use.

You can use data generated from this tool to make decisions on getting high-quality referring domains in several ways. This is what you need to do to analyze:

  • Search and analyze the quality of the websites that are linking to you.
  • Sort the low-quality or spammy websites that could harm your website’s reputation. You can try disavowing them using Google’s Search Console tool.
  • Make a list of referring domains with a high-quality profile. 
  • Keep an eye on your referring domains over time and look for any changes

Analyzing the results of your referring domains report helps you identify more opportunities for link-building.

2. Grow Your Network

Although networking can take a little more time and effort, it is one of the magical ways to grow any business. So, you can always reach out to other websites and ask them to link to your content. 

It’s best if you contact websites relevant to your niche or industry, as they are more likely to be interested in linking to your content. You can also offer something in return, such as guest blogging on their site or a backlink on your site.

Also, ensure you are active on social media—that’s a good place to get a large audience. Share your content on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites to help get your content seen by businesses, site owners, and influencers in your niche. 

Reach out to those who liked or commented on your post, make friends with them and tell me if they would like to give you a backlink, and it can either be a yes or a no. But a yes will help you increase the number of referring domains.

3. Write Sharable Content

You can create link-worthy content, which means making informative, interesting, and unique content. If you have great content on your site, people will be more likely to link to it, and if you want your site to be successful, you need to write content that people will want to share. 

As Seth Godin said, “Don’t find customers for your product. Find products for your customers.” To do this, you need to understand what kind of content your target audience would like to share by answering the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What topics are they talking about or commenting about?
  • What are they interested in? 

Once you understand what kinds of content are most likely to be shared, you need to start creating it! Write articles, blog posts, infographics, and other types of content that will capture your audience’s attention and make them want to share it with their friends and followers.

Here are four types of content that can help you get links:

  • Data-driven content: Create unique data-driven content that everyone can link to. Every company has data that users will find valuable, but they need to leverage it to produce original content. That is a low-hanging fruit that can help drive referring domains significantly.
  • Actionable content: Create actionable content, original news, and anything people will want to share to make their own website beautiful. You won’t need to worry about getting links itself; people by themselves will link to your content at their own will if they find it worth it.”
  • Trending content: It refers to any piece of writing written on a topic at a time when there was an explosion of interest in the particular topic. Trending has the potential to drive massive amounts of traffic right to your site after someone shares it.
  • Skyscraper content: Create content that covers everything on a particular topic, like “an ultimate guide to referring domains.” Or  “The A–Z of SEO”. People love to get all their information in place without having to open multiple pages.

Remember, the more shareable your content is, the more referral traffic you’re likely to get. So if you want more referring domains, start writing better content!

4. Promote Your Content


According to Brian Halligan, the CEO & Co-Founder of HubSpot, “It’s not what you sell that matters as much. It is how you sell it!” Content not well promoted could be worth next to having no content at all. So, the next thing after having content is to promote it!

You can promote your content in various ways, some of which include:

  • Increase the number of referring domains. 
  • Submit your content to directories and article sites. 
  • Create social media accounts and post links to your content on these sites. 
  • You can also participate in online forums and post links to your content in your signature file. 
  • You can email bloggers and website owners who may be interested in your content.
  • You can also pay for Google ads to secure the top page on SERP

5. Contribute to Other Sites

One of the many ways to get referring domains is to contribute to other sites. You can easily do this by guest blogging, writing articles for other sites in your niche, or even just leaving comments on other blogs.

When you contribute to another site, you’re giving them free content and adding value to their website, which they will appreciate. In return, you’re likely to get a link to your own site that can help increase your referral traffic.

Of course, ensuring you’re not contributing spammy content to other sites is essential. Otherwise, you could end up doing more harm than good. But if you can add value to another site with high-quality content, more influencers in your niche will want to partner with you.

6. Review Your Competitors

To get referring domains, you need first to understand your competition. This is because analyzing and learning from your competitors will help you build a stronger brand. So, review their backlink profiles and see what kind of link-building tactics they are using. 

If they are focusing on guest blogging, then you should too. If they are getting a lot of links from services that sell backlinks then you should focus your efforts on optimizing your SEO strategy. The key is to find out what is working for them and try to replicate it.

7. Choose Your Landing Page

The purpose of landing pages is to turn visitors into leads and your lead could be a site owner looking for a reference.

Ensure your website landing pages are well-designed and easy to navigate. A clean, user-friendly website will make visitors more likely to stay on your site and explore more pages, increasing the chances that they’ll see what they want and link to it.

8. Invest In the Right Tools

Organically building referring domains takes time and effort, but it’s generally the most sustainable and cost-effective option in the long run. Plus, you’ll have complete control over the domains and can be sure they’ll continue sending traffic to your site for as long as you want.

However, in today’s SEO landscape, you need to invest in the right tools to rank. The right tools will help you measure your progress, find opportunities, and track your competition.

Here are a few of the essential tools you need for SEO:

  • A keyword research tool – A keyword research tool like Moz Keyword Explorer, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, or Semrush will help you find the right keywords to target.
  • A backlink analysis tool – A backlink analysis tool like Ahrefs will help you track your progress and find link-building opportunities.
  • A rank tracking tool – A rank trackings tool like MozRankTracker or Advanced Web Ranking will help you measure your progress and track your competition.
  • An analytics tool – An analytics tool like Google Analytics or KISSmetrics will help you track your traffic and conversions.

9. Optimize Your Strategy


It is essential to optimize the ratio of the referring domain to backlinks as close to 1:1 as possible. If you have many backlinks from the same domain, the value of those extra backlinks drops after the initial linking. A unique backlink from a high-value, relevant, and exclusive domain is a general rule of thumb. 

Keep an eye on your link profile and monitor the number of referring domains pointing to your site. A sudden drop could indicate something is wrong with your linking strategy, and you may need to adjust accordingly. Whatever your backlink-building strategy is, ensure you keep it up to date!

How Referring Domain is Useful to Boost SEO Ranking

Referring domains give your website backlinks that act as third-party endorsements or votes of confidence. To search engines, it means your website has helpful information and is worth linking to. So, the more referring domain you have, the more your PageRank score will increase and the higher your rank on SERPs.

Referring domains help boost SEO ranking by improving click-through rates, which is a significant factor in search engine optimization. When a website has a high number of referring domains, it is more likely to generate traffic from those websites. 

It tells search engines that the website is popular and relevant, leading to higher search results rankings.


A referring domain or linking domain is a website or webpage that hosts a link to your website. The more unique referring domains you have, the higher your SEO ranking. So, check out the unique ways to get more referring domains and follow them to get more referring domains and boost your SEO ranking.