Backlinks Vs Referring Domains: What is the Main Difference?

Backlinks Vs Referring Domains

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Since the inception of digital marketing, brands, and websites have been fighting for the top position in Google’s response to a search. Studies show that most buyers explore and buy from the top 3 to 5 search engine results pages (SERPs). 

Hence, all SEO strategies fight to get their brand or website at the top. Out of many ways, backlinking and referring domains are key paraments that search engines manipulate to calculate the top position. 

Referring Domain Vs. Backlink

Referring DomainBacklink
The host of BacklinkMultiple backlinks using the same anchor text is dangerous
Pornographical, betting, and Spammy domains are toxicProduct of a domain
Can be linked to multiple domainsLink to a single domain
Improves SERPsMultiple backlinks from a single domain is risky
A same backlink from different domainsSpammy and malicious Backlinks are detrimental
Multiple backlinks from a single domain is injurious to SERPsMultiple backlinks from a single domain are injurious to SERPs

Read | How Many Backlinks Do I Have Per Month?

What is a Referring Domain?

 External websites which link visitors to your website through a link are known as Referring domains. These referring domains are part and parcel of the SERPs. The ranking of referring domains plays a critical and vital role in the determination of the rank of your website.

What is a Backlink?

The link which refers visitors to another website is known as a backlink. A single domain can have multiple backlinks to single or multiple target domains. Along with the referring domains, the quantity and quality of backlinks is also fundamental variable in the search engine algorithm to position a domain in the search.

A typical example is shown in the figure below, here, anchor text SPCE.N is a backlink that refers to another webpage of Reuters, whereas is the referring domain.

Referring Domains

Read | Creative Link Building In Digital Marketing

How is the Number of Domains Calculated?

 The picture shown below clearly explains the calculations of backlinks and referring domains. If a single site (referring domain) has three backlinks referring to the same target site, the backlinks will be counted as three and the referring domain as 1. Hence, the picture shows that the total number of backlinks are six from 3 different referring domains.

How is the Number of Domains Calculated

Different tools are used by SEO experts, like Ahrefs and MoZ, that provide with full details. They provide the data of the number of domains and backlinks and the information about the anchor text used for creating the link.

Read | How Many Backlinks Can Get From One Website?

Is it the Number of Domains that Matters?

Unfortunately, no, it is not only the number that matters the most; it’s the quality of the domains that boost your SERPs. So, one backlink from an authentic, legitimate and high DA and DR domain might weigh more than the 100 illegitimate and spammy backlinks.

Search engine algorithms manipulate different parameters to determine a backlink’s rank. Although search engines keep them secret, experts believe that the following could be the top attributes of ranking;

  • Domain Authority
  • Domain Ranking
  • Accessibility and Loading
  • User Friendly
  • Keyword and Anchor Text Stuffing
  • Security and Privacy
  • SEO Ranking
  • Informative and Relevant Contents
  • Optimization
  • Authentic, Relevant, and Legitimate Links

The high-ranked website attracts more traffic, and a backlink at these websites will also bring more traffic to the target website. So it all comes down to the referring domain ranking, which links to your website or brand, as substantial organic traffic comes from these high-ranked domains.

Can I Check the Number of Backlinks and Referring Domains?

Yes, You can. Good News is Google itself gives you this information via “Google Search Console,” and it’s free as well. This console provides comprehensive information on Google’s performance audit of a website and its indexing. It also gives information regarding the total number of external links and top-linked pages, which is handy information to tailor your SEO strategy.

Apart from Google, one can also use Ahrefs or Backlink lookup to create a similar performance report.

Read | What Are The Most Powerful Backlinks for a Website?

How Can the Number of Best-Referring Domains be Increased?

As mentioned earlier, it is not the number that matters; instead, the ranking of those referring domains is the real extract. How can one increase the number of optimum and best-referring domains? Following are some tips.

Look Out for Top Pages in Your Field.

Try to publish blogs with backlinks to your domain at the top pages of your field, e.g., if you own an online news page, a backlink from the BBC, New York Times or Reuters will give your page a mammoth boost.

Valuable and Updated Content

Be aware of the progress and development in your industry. Be vigilant and keep informative and updated content on your page to get authentic and scrupulous backlinks and traffic.

Disseminate Information

Try to use all available forums like, top pages, apps, blogs, Email outreach and social media to disseminate the information on the scroll to every person. Different people use different social media forums for the information and pleasure. So, try to publish your backlinks on each platform.

Know your Competitors

Knowing your competitors’ progress is necessary for your company’s growth. Healthy competition will always improve your performance and development. It is also essential to know advancements in your business. Because, in the era of AI, things could change drastically in a matter of months.

Nokia used to be one of the leading mobile companies in early 2000, but they failed to cope with the advancement in the mobile industry. They did not try to collect the information of their competitors like Samsung and Apple.

Apple and Samsung switched to a handier and user-friendly touchscreen, whereas Nokia did not bother to update its technology and got out of the competition.

The same is true in marketing; if you do not know how your competitors pull traffic into their domain, you cannot design an SEO strategy that could outnumber your competitor. The founder of Alibaba Group, Jack Ma, emphasizes the same in his famous quote below.

The founder of Alibaba Group

Read | Should Black Hat Link Building be Avoided?

Mapping of Referring Domains and Customers

Information of the geographical maps of your customers is crucial. Your product and the target audience are vital features of SEO strategies, e.g., if you are trying to sell a “Cricket Ball” in a Scandinavian country, where people hardly play cricket and expect a boost in your business, then you are living in the fool’s paradise.

The best strategy is to try to create backlinks from the sites visited mainly by Asians, England, Australians and West Indies people. This will increase the referring domains and will also boost your business.

Before starting a business, try to locate the targeted audience and their location. Try to get those referring domains that your targeted audience visits. If your business or store is located in England and you got a backlink from a domain which Asian visits, then this backlink is useless for you. So, chalk out a well-versed plan of the referring domain before designing your SEO strategy.

Read | How Many Backlinks per Month Are Safe?

A regular Performance Audit of Backlinks and Referring Domains

Websites keep on improving their content and blogs. So, one must keep track of their backlinks and referring domains. There might be a chance that your SEO expert has created a link from a website that Google has blocked for suspicious content. So, a regular audit by the SEO tools is necessary.

This will help you to modify, improve and adjust your performance. Google will self-generate an email if suspicious and illegitimate activity is found on your website.

Skyscraping Technique

It is a tricky technique where you find the best-referring domains in your field with lots of backlinks; you improve and update that content and republish them, creating backlinks to your domain. This is a highly effective technique but requires a lot of research and the latest knowledge of your field.

Paid Blogs

Paid Blogs

Although buying referring domains and backlinks by paid blogs and comments is not recommended but is often used in the marketing world these days; search engines categorize them as black hat and often discount them. Nevertheless, this is not recommended, but it is being used. These paid blocks could be a value-lost rather than value-add, as Google penalizes such activity.

Read | How Many Backlinks Per Day Is Safe?


What is a Referring Domain

Authentic, legitimate, and high-ranked referring domains are vital business features. Backlinks from these referring domains bring high flux to your domain. These domains and organic traffic will en route your website to the top position in the SERPs. Getting a backlink from a high-ranked referring domain is hard, but an experienced SEO specialist like Dlinx outreach will always do this job for you.

Suppose you a still looking for an expert. In that case, Dlinx outreach is the place to visit, where SEO experts will find the high-traffic and legitimate referring domains per your business’s demand in your geographical areas.

Dlinx will create long-lasting backlinks for you using White hat strategies. So, what are you waiting for? Contact us and get a customized offer at a competitively lower rate.


What is the difference between referral and backlink?

A backlink is like a road sign that directs people from one website to another, while a referral is more like a personal recommendation that spreads the word about a website’s value.

Are backlinks or referring domains more important?

Both are essential in their own right. Backlinks act as the individual pathways to your site, while referring domains provide the stage for these pathways to shine. It’s a harmonious partnership, each enhancing the other’s impact.

What is referring domains?

Referring domains are like the respected patrons vouching for your website’s credibility. They are websites that host the backlinks leading to your content, contributing to your site’s overall recognition in the digital world.

Is referral traffic a backlink?

Referral traffic is the outcome of successful backlinks. It’s the audience that follows the path laid out by a backlink, arriving at your website’s doorstep. However, referral traffic isn’t the backlink itself; it’s the result of its influence.

What are the three types of backlinks?

The trio includes the natural backlink, earned through genuine admiration; the built backlink, strategically placed by you; and the earned backlink, earned through exceptional content that garners recognition.

Is an affiliate link a backlink?

An affiliate link and a backlink share similarities but serve different roles. An affiliate link guides visitors to another platform to take a specific action, whereas a backlink is a direct hyperlink from another site to your content. They’re like two performers in the same show, but with distinct roles.

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