More referring domains can dramatically boost your search engine optimization (SEO) results and your rankings in search engines.
However, for a relative SEO newbie, getting additional referring domains can seem very tricky.
What do a website’s referring domains do, and how can you get more referring domains linking back to your website?
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What are Referring Domains?
Referring domains (also called linking domains) are any site that chooses to direct visitors to another site, usually through an external website link.
These backlinks provide direct boosts to your SEO as long as they are high-quality backlinks and come from relevant sites. As such, you generally want as many websites linking to your own as possible, as long as they are relevant to what you host.
What are Backlinks and Referring Domains For?
Backlinks are used to boost your ranking in search engines, allowing you to appear higher in search results for relevant search terms.
Since more referring domains mean more backlinks, seeking out new referring domains is a core part of handling SEO.
Having more good-quality backlinks and referring domains pointing to your site improves credibility and traffic alongside SEO. This not only makes it easier to appear for your target audience but ranks you higher than other sites and makes you far more visible overall.
How Can You Get More Referring Domains?
Referring domains generally come from two sources: natural links and link building. Natural links are any links that a site decides to link to your own, whereas link building focuses on creating more linking opportunities for your website.
Creating Valuable Content
Most search engines prefer it when backlinks point to relevant and useful content, and most referring websites want to avoid linking to questionable or useless websites.
By producing worthwhile content, you can successfully approach more potential domains while also getting a higher chance of earning new linking domains naturally.
The more useful your content is, the more likely others are to refer to it. Even passively gaining referring domains through your content can boost your search engine rankings in the long term.
Share Your Content
If your content already exists and is not getting noticed, then finding ways to share it around can bolster your link building campaign. For example, reaching out to other blog sites to write companion articles or to promote your content can get a lot more eyes on it.
Of course, this should ideally only be a temporary solution. Doing this too much can seem like spam, which might get your web page (or entire site) penalized by search engines.
Target Content Gaps
If you are competing with a lot of other companies in the same industry, try to find niches that have not been filled by other websites already.
For example, a simple how-to tutorial on a complex process can get a lot of organic traffic and useful links and might establish you as an authority within that niche.
If you want to get additional referring domains directly, then you can always manually build them. A good link building strategy usually focuses on arranging for custom links on high-quality referring domains.
With link building, you can contact website owners and arrange for guest posts (or even ask them to write blog posts promoting something you sell) to get more links. This gives you some control over how those websites link to your own site.
Of course, these external websites have to agree to this, and many may not accept a link placement. Others may demand at least some control over the content, which can lead to less-than-optimal links.
Placing guest content on a blog post related to your target audience is a great way to gather more relevant links.
As long as these other websites are in the same general niche or focused on the same topic, any guest blog post links you get will provide SEO benefits.
A guest post also allows you to adjust how the content is written, which can really help if you want to use a specific keyword on that linking domain.
Other Link Placements
Between dead link building (replacing dead links on other websites with links to your own) and various other unconventional link building strategies, there are a lot of ways to attract more links by talking with site owners.
The most popular referring domains in your niche may have very strict standards on which posts they will accept or even the sites that they will work with.
If you are not sure how to get more referring domains, then you need to start looking for useful opportunities that can provide referring domains for you.
For example, you can analyze domains reports in analytics software like Ahrefs to get a breakdown of your website’s search engine rankings, leading referring domains, highly relevant sites, and various ways to target web pages that might make useful future referring domains.
Even a single referring domain can be an opportunity worth taking, and several referring domains at once are even better.
A good backlink strategy relies on a constant flow of potential domains. You ideally want to acquire referring domains as often as you discover new ones, so tracking down more is important.
You can round up posts and sites that are relevant to your niche, seek out high-quality content related to your industry, or just analyze referring domains report information to find new sites for your link building strategy.
Your referring domains report can also show you referring domains and backlinks that are not performing well or that are actively damaging your rankings.
Part of your link building efforts should involve either fixing or removing these domains, depending on whether they are causing problems or not. One referring domain having a negative impact might not hurt your rankings much, but ten is a serious problem.
With underperforming referral domain options, you can always try placing a new and more relevant link on the same domain.
If all else fails, you can simply copy a number of referring domains from your competitors. If your referring domain strategy does not already use many of the same links as them, you can simply replicate their success to boost yourself higher.
This can help with your search engine ranking results and also for gathering more traffic overall, but not all domains will be willing to add links to your site as well.
How to Capture New Referring Domains Effectively
If you are looking to secure additional referring domains, then you need to start out strong.
A good referring domain can be hard to lock down, especially if it has a lot of domain authority that other sites will want.
Identify Good Referring Domains
Check referring domains and other domain options in your referring domain report, and use other SEO tools to analyze each potential referring domain you find.
If you want more organic traffic, better rankings, and a stronger link profile, then you want to target authoritative domains that are relevant to your niche.
Watch Potential Domains
Track prospective referring domains that you are not approaching straight away. You want to know which potential referring domains you can pursue if you need to, even ones that are already referring domains for other websites in your industry.
Referring Domains Vs Backlinks
Both referring domains and backlinks are important, but in the issue of referring domains vs. backlinks, always prioritize individual backlinks.
Even the most relevant referring domains can be pointless if you are not using those linking domains well, such as linking to irrelevant web pages or using anchor text that does not suit your target audience.
Use White Hat Methods
Never go against search engine guidelines while trying to boost your site’s backlink profile. Securing one or more backlinks is never worth the potential penalties.
Black-hat methods can get your entire site structure deindexed for a while, meaning that you will not rank at all.
Check Referring Domains’ Limits
Not all potential referring domain sites will accept certain types of link building.
If possible, try to understand what the site will accept beforehand so that you do not start off on the wrong foot. A show of respect can actually increase the chances of them working with you.
Use Online Services
There is no shame in using a free service website to sort through referring pages or throw together a quick backlinks report.
Any tool that helps in finding and understanding referring domains can be invaluable, even if it is just the free trial of an online tool that you have no intention of paying for straight away.
Pay Attention to Traffic
Not all referring domain links need to be purely for SEO. Sometimes, it is worth getting a link that is likely to bring in organic user traffic from the target site itself.
While organic search traffic through SEO is still better, sometimes securing a simple link for added sales can be worthwhile, especially for a smaller company that needs all of the customers it can get.
Track Referring Domains
Make sure that you keep track of secured referring domains. If the domain authority drops sharply or the web pages that held the links disappear, you will want to know.
It is entirely reasonable for a number of referring domains to disappear or break over time. By keeping track of them, you can identify which referring domain disappears and decide whether or not to pursue the site for another link to replace it.
Choose Numbers Over Assumptions
Always look at hard data, like domain authority, before making a decision. Each referral domain is unique, but some are going to be objectively more useful or worthwhile than others.
If you have a number of referring domains to choose from as prospective link targets, then make sure you are choosing them based on their actual value rather than making assumptions about which one would be a stronger link option.
Use Each Referring Domain Well
You never want to use a potential link option as a dumping ground for content ideas you already had. Make sure that you are creating something relevant and suitable for each site rather than just throwing something together that might not work.
If you want to use each site to its fullest potential, you need to create content and links that will fit with it.
Search Engine Optimization as a field has a lot of different strategies and techniques associated with it, and building links is one of the most famous.
Good link building can allow your site to see massive SEO improvements and general growth without costing you as much money as a regular ad campaign would, all while having a lot of control over how you improve in search rankings.
Using Search Engine Optimization effectively can be difficult at first, but learning the specifics makes it a much easier task. The more you know about SEO, the easier it becomes to optimize your site until you are receiving incredibly strong benefits from your incoming links.
Just remember to slow down and explore your options before you rush into arranging any links, especially if you are new to SEO. Making SEO mistakes can negatively impact your site’s rankings, so you want to be careful with how you approach each link opportunity.
Scott Calland is a highly regarded content specialist with an English Degree. He has a passion for creating compelling content as a UK journalist that engages, informs, and entertains readers. With over 10 years of experience in creating news publications as a reporter, Scott has developed a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of how to craft content that resonates with audiences. Working closely with data analysts Scott’s research on topics is unrivalled for latest news updates.
Scott is also an investor in Searcharoo.