Referring domains

David Kusserow



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Referring domains are web pages that contain a link to another page. The number and quality of referring domains is an important aspect of search engine optimization.


A referring domain in terms of OffPage Search Engine Optimization is a web page that has placed a backlink to another page. For a natural link profile of a site, it is important that not too many backlinks are placed on a single domain.

Referring domains

So that search engines like Google, Bing and Co. do not suspect link spamming or other manipulations behind backlinks, the ratio between the number of backlinks and the referring domains must be balanced.

Referring domains and link building

A good search engine optimization includes the OffPage optimization and a central part of this is the link building. Building links that lead to your site from other sites increases your Domain Authority and therefore your ranking on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).

You have to keep in mind that not every backlink is of the same quality. A link from a trusted site – that is, a site that itself enjoys a high domain authority – is considered by Google to be of high quality. A link from a Bad Neighbourhood, on the other hand, can devalue your whole page.

Search engines like Google want to promote a free exchange of knowledge on the Internet and therefore try to make manipulations in link building more difficult. A scattering of backlinks on many pages on the web appears to Google as a sign of a naturally grown link profile – when convinced users themselves recommend a page. Many backlinks on a page are therefore not a sign of quality.

What does a good ratio of referring domains and backlinks look like?

So, for example, if all your backlinks come from one site, you have also convinced only one webmaster of your site. Therefore, regardless of their absolute number, these backlinks are not worth much.

At the same time, it’s equally unlikely that you could place as many backlinks by placing only one link on each domain. Such a link profile looks like a manipulation. Typically, some websites place more backlinks than others – so, for example, 100 links across 40 referring domains would be a balanced value.

What do you have to consider with referring domains?

Even with a balance of backlinks and referring domains, the referring domain itself remains incredibly important. A backlink from a bad neighborhood may hurt your domain authority more than a good backlink will help you. Therefore, you must always keep an eye on the origin of your backlinks. If you notice a backlink that you don’t want Google to rank, you can exclude it using Google Search Console, for example.


The number and quality of the referring domains is crucial for the quality and thus the benefit of your backlinks. Only through the right number of linking domains do your backlinks become more convincing to search engines. Likewise, it is important that the right domains link your site. Only by backlinking to sites that Google trusts will your own domain authority increase, and with it your results on the SERPs.


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