How To Get More Referring Domains to Boost your SEO Ranking

For any website to do well, achieving a higher ranking in Google or other search engines is critical.

To earn a higher ranking, you, as a content marketer, must be aware of the principles of content marketing as well as the impact your content has on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Aside from the more familiar aspects of SEO like keywords, headers, backlinks, and page load time optimization, I want to introduce another important concept – referring domains.

If you aren’t super familiar with referring domains, you’ll want to make sure you understand the importance and how to get more referring domains pointing back to your website.

What Is A Referring Domain?

“Referring domains, aka ‘ref domains’ or ‘linking domains,’ are crucial for SEO if you want to bring more traffic onto your site and impact your website’s ranking,” Link Building Manager Claudia Cruz – Thrive

Referring domains, which are also known as “linking domains,” are external websites that direct visitors to your site. These domains are full of backlinks that drive organic traffic and can improve traffic to your web pages.

referring domains
Image: Moz dashboard linking domains – Source

To simplify the concept…

A referring domain is the domain such as that links back to your site.

A backlink would be a link within that domain that links back, which would be a full URL linking to a page on your site and appear as a hyperlink as follows:

backlink example
Image: Example of a backlink – Source

Your website might have acquired referring domains, and they may contain one or more backlinks that directly point to your target web pages. For other websites, if you link out to another site, those websites would view your site as a referring domain.

Let’s look at a big more in depth example. Site P, which is an external website, is considered a referring domain if it comprises one or two backlinks referring to Site Q, that is your website.

Regardless if you receive multiple backlinks from Site P, it is still considered to be one referring domain for your website.

But then, ten different websites linking back to your page are considered to be ten different referring domains. Note that you can not control the number of backlinks per domain.

Some websites link back to your page only to add references to their content.

Some users may confuse backlinks and referring domains because they are similar SEO ranking factors. This is understandable since identifying external backlinks vs referring domains can be confusing at first.

Now that you have a bit better understanding, let’s look at why referring domains are important.

How Are Referring Domains Important in SEO?

Referring domains are traffic sources that send signals to search engines and online users that point to your web pages’ quality and credibility.

Google looks at several factors in assessing the quality of backlinks. These include linking domain, source quality and relevance, the context of your placement and the page where the backlink is posted.

If you want to acquire more organic traffic, backlinks from top referring domains are crucial. A study by Ahrefs showed that approximately 90.88 percent of pages without any referring areas do not get organic search traffic from Google.

Without high-quality referring domains linking to your target web pages, you are losing out on potential traffic, engagement and sales.

“A good backlink strategy consists of building unique links. A new backlink on a new domain is a great way to build your authority. This is because a second link on the same site will not pass page rank as your first link did.” – Link Building Manager Claudia Cruz – Thrive

How To Get More Referring Domains?


Using an SEO tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs or Moz, you can access a report showing all of the referring domains that link back to your website.

SEMrush referring domains report
Image: SEMrush referring domains report – Source

Once you export the file, evaluate the quality and quantity of your referring domains to determine which has the most robust backlink profile — the more domains with a high-authority score, the better.

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

What are your top-performing pages

Identifying your top pages is one of the best ways to map out your next content marketing strategy and link building campaign. Your prime pages are the most popular pages on your website, which received the highest number of backlinks.

A high number of backlinks from top referring domains means your content is trusted among other websites and online users.

Focusing your SEO strategy on high-quality content and creating more blog posts and web pages that cover relevant topics can boost your link building efforts.

Class A Content

One of the easiest ways for you and your team to get more referring domains for your website is to publish superior content. You have to gain the trust of your audience as well as of other website owners. Only then can you see an increase in the number of referring domains.

Publish more case studies, long-form articles, and other content that goes above and beyond to answer questions for your target audience. Do tons of research and add supporting stats and actionable examples.

Take on additional SEO tactics as well. Reduce your page loading time because no one wants to view a page that takes forever to open up. Add more infographics. This can grab some attention from the top class bloggers and writers.

Know Your Target Audience

Understand your target audience and give them what they want. Do some thorough market research and incorporate the correct keywords into your content. This can narrow down your scope of work. It also increases the precision of your team.

Keep An Eye On Your Competition

“Reviewing competitors allows you to weed out link intersect and create a matrix of potential referring domains to get a backlink from,” Cruz said.

Use tools like Ahrefs and analyze your competition domains. Tools like Ahrefs can help you understand the keywords they are using, your common keywords and the graphs showing the analysis.

Competitor analysis Ahrefs
Image: Competitor analysis Ahrefs – Source

Go through their profile and find out how they are getting the backlinks. Understanding your competition is an excellent way to beat them.

Content A Variety of Places

Distribute your content to have more extensive exposure. Help spread your in high authority domains.

Don’t just target the same site over and over. That can have a negative impact. Diversify your link profile by targeting a range of referring domains.

“After curating a list for potential linkability, reach out to webmasters with your linkable assets, such as articles or infographics, Guest blogging offers numerous benefits for businesses of all types and sizes. By sharing your expertise on other companies’ websites, you establish your brand as an authority figure. Additionally, it helps you deliver fresh content to their audience.” Link Building Manager Claudia Cruz – Thrive

Identification Of Relevant Domains

The practice of identifying the correct and relevant domains for your website will allow you to determine potential backlink sources that can drive more traffic to your target web pages. The key is to note down the domains that are within your industry and then categorize them based on your area of expertise to ensure you are gaining links from relevant sites.

For example, a study by SEMrush showed the most eminent referring domains for U.S. law firms are university portals, news media, general directories and press release distribution services. This means if you have a law firm, these would be the top referring domains for your website that you want to put your links and content on.

Know The Right Tools

“For any off-page SEO enthusiast or link builder, we suggest using tools like Similar Web. This tool allows you to mine hundreds of opportunities similar to the identified right candidate for link placement. Plus, it’s a time saver!” – Link Building Manager Claudia Cruz – Thrive

Using the proper and the right type of tools, you can find relevant websites that can help you promote your content. Also there are several types of agencies, website design companies and more by which you can promote your business or content.

Link Building Strategy Optimization

It is important to keep in mind the ratio between the referring domain and backlinks. We always want to keep the ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. If you acquire several backlinks from the same domain, the value of those additional backlinks after the first placement decreases significantly. A good rule of thumb has a unique backlink from a high-value, relevant, exclusive domain. Keep your backlink strategy always fresh!” – Link Building Manager Claudia Cruz – Thrive

Do your research to develop data-driven and the up-to-date link building strategies that can surely help in the growth of your brand. More importantly, follow search engine guidelines and best practices on how to acquire more and the best kind of referring domains.


We hope that you found our article on how to increase your referring domains for your website to get a high ranking quite useful. The main crux lies in how much you are willing to work for your website.

Remember that a website is something that has the power to create a positive, well-recognized brand and spread your message across the web. With your understanding of referring domains, start working to grab as many high-quality domain referrals as you can, and boost the value of your site.

Enjoyed reading the  blog? Sign up for our bi-monthly newsletter to receive marketing news and advice.

Gaurav Saraswat
Follow Me
Latest posts by Gaurav Saraswat (see all)

4 thoughts on “How To Get More Referring Domains to Boost your SEO Ranking”

  1. To get referring domain dofollow is really hard task, if you have any idea or can share a dofollow link with me, I’d love to talk.


Something to add? We welcome your comments below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



Join our email list to receive the latest updates.

Affiliate notice: Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. We only promote products we have tried and love. We may receive a small commission if you click and buy.

Skip to content
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap