After establishing that external links have an impact in the world of SEO, several website owners decided to include these in their SEO strategy. And if external links were present already, they sought to acquire more. For some, it was a game of numbers. In other words, the number of links was all that mattered. Therefore, numerous links could be gotten from the same website regardless of the site's credibility.
This did not necessarily translate to improved SEO metrics for many. Although backlinks are important for SEO, the referring/linking domain bears equal relevance. What are these referring or linking domains and why do they make a difference? How can you find out how many of these your site has? We will consider the answers to these in the course of this article.
What Are Referring Linking Domains?
As the name implies, referring or linking domains are domains that refer traffic to the target website. In plain terms, any domain or website that contains hyperlinks to any page on your site is a referring domain. Based on this, you may have several backlinks from a site, however, the website where these backlinks appear on counts as one referring / linking domain.
Do You Need A Referring Linking Domain?
Can you successfully run your site without having any referring linking domains? Note that a good backlink mostly comes from a linking domain with high authority. So, the effect a backlink from an authoritative domain would have on your website gives reasons why website owners should not neglect referring linking domains.
A few prominent perks to having referring linking domains are –
Increased organic traffic
The domain authority and trustworthiness of a site linking to you affect Google's image of you. It is for this reason that website owners are advised to disavow links from spammy domains that might be linking to them. With links from authoritative domains in your niche, both website owners and Google would translate this link building between your website and the referring linking domains to mean that the website you run is trustworthy.
Increased organic traffic
Having referring or linking domains behind your website also has an impact on traffic. With external links, individuals get redirected to your content. No doubt, this would mostly translate to lead converts, brand awareness, and improved link authority if proper niching is done and good content is present.
Among Google's known metrics for ranking, backlinks remain prominent. Basically, you need these referring domains with links to your website. When there is a good amount of backlinks from established websites referring to yours, Google correlates this to mean that your website is popular and contains valuable content.
How To Get Yourself Effective Referring Linking Domains
As a website owner, it would help to understand that while referring/linking domains are indispensable, they do not always bear the same relevance on the search engine. Let us consider a few strategies that would help get a substantial number of good referring domains:
Identify avenues for link-building opportunities through backlink analysis - The first step to reinforcing the effectiveness of referring linking domains on your SEO is analyzing the domains and external links to your website. Doing so helps identify what domains you should get more links to, which referring domains may be harming your SEO, and to find and fix broken links. There are various tools with which you can carry out backlink analysis on your website including the Search Console by Google and Google Analytics.
Identify high-performance pages to put more effort on - Again, the impact of a referring linking domain on your SEO would mostly depend on the domain authority. Therefore, from the results of your backlink analysis, it would be helpful to focus on getting more links from sites that have improved your traffic or pages with high domain authority.
By no means give less relevance to the quality of your content - If sloppy content is all your site brings to the forefront, no reputable website would want to link to you. In the same vein, even with external links pointing to your content, users who click on these links would no doubt leave if they are not pleased by the content you offer.
Identity competition and collaborators - Observing the linking patterns of competition websites and noting what sites link to them can give you insight on where to improve. By getting sites with similar domain authority or even higher to bear links to your website, you have better chances at an improved SERP.
Participate in guest outreach and link-building - Now that you know what domains you would need to focus your efforts on, it is time to reach out and distribute your content. You can do this by creating premium content to try for guest posting opportunities. You can either reach out to specific website owners to engage in link-building, or you can utilize forums like HARO.
Checking the Number of Referring Linking Domains Your Site Has
Like every other back-end aspect of your website, you would need to make use of tools to determine the amount of referring domains that have hyperlinks to your website. As you would perform analysis for backlinks, these tools work in the same way for referring domains. You will find the reports of your analysis under the tab “referring domains”. Where such a tab is not found, you could also perform analysis on the sites you have external links to. Here is a short list of tools that would help you achieve this easily :
While having several relevant backlinks would be helpful to your SEO, paying attention to the referring linking domains which your site has would be necessary. Rather than focus on getting several backlinks from one domain, dispersing these link-building efforts across a number of domains including authoritative ones is sure to have a better impact on your SEO.