Referring domains provide links that lead visitors back to your website, which is why they are usually called “backlinks.” When a website links to your website, it is technically called a referring domain, while individual links are referred to as backlinks. This means that although they both fall under the “backlink” category, they are not interchangeable terms.

What Do Referring Domains Do for SEO?

Google ranks websites and their authority according to things like referring domains. Since search engines are tasked with finding useful content for searchers, they consider a referring domain link to enhance the website’s credibility as long as the link is credible as well. 

Therefore, if you can gain links from industry-relevant, trusted, and authoritative sites, then your SEO ranking will improve. The more links that you get, the better your search engine rankings will be. The key is to get high-quality sources from different domains to strengthen your backlink profile.

If a referring domain is not credible or it is a low-quality source, then it can lower your ranking, resulting in what Google calls a “link-related penalty.” Each penalty damages your site’s credibility. In some instances, you can actually have your website removed entirely from a Google search. 

So, what is the difference between a referring domain that helps your ranking and one that hurts?

What Factors Make a Referring Domain High-Quality?

Google uses the term “prominent” to refer to domains that are considered high-quality. Although there is no actual definition attached to that term, it means that a website has topical relevance, a stellar backlink profile, and authority. 

The first factor is that you get more value when you have a backlink from a referring domain that is topically in tune with your website. Why?

Backlinks empathize with expertise in your company’s industry. That allows Google and other search engines to understand, read, and get to “know” your brand. The more prominent and established a referring domain is, the bigger boost it will give your website. It is almost like a quality company is giving you a direct reference. 

And this is a wrap-around concept, meaning that the better the backlink profile is to the referring domain, the more credibility it gives you. That is why “link building” is so important. 

What Determines a Low-Quality Referring Link?

Low-quality links also don’t have a specific marker that makes them so. They include sites with few visitors, backlinks, and credibility. They also do not have an impactful organic backlink profile. 

Things like a website having technical issues or low-quality content are both hazardous to a website’s credibility. That’s why paying attention to the backend of your website is critical. 

Domains deemed “bad” also include websites that try to use manipulative tactics to foster their search engine rankings. They are ones that Google finds go against spam policies by having poor behaviors and content.

If you have backlinks on your site from bad referring domains, you can risk your own site’s ratings. Google could penalize you due to your association. Links from websites that engage in link spam could end with you being penalized by Google, which can tank all of your SEO efforts.

What Are Some Examples of Link Spamming Tactics?

  • Links from referring domains that sell backlinks
  • Links from referring domains that Google has not indexed
  • Private blog network links are used artificially to increase credibility by selling links to one another and to other sites
  • Comments that are highly over-optimized with anchor text

So How Can You Boost Your Backlink Profile?

The best way to increase your backlink profile is obviously by working organically to gain credibility with good content. “Link building” is the process of finding outbound, inbound, and backlinks.

Reaching out to credible referring domains to ask for a backlink might be tedious and not a fast process, but it is the best way to gain real and beneficial authority. 

Audit Your Own Backlink Profile

It is important to know what your backlink profile looks like. You should know what referring backlinks your site has and their quality. Once you know where you stand, you can determine what actions to take to remove low-quality links if they exist and to find opportunities to add quality domain links. We call this knowing your Overall Toxicity Score.

Evaluating and Finding Referring Domains 

The best way to increase your linking credibility is by directly contacting other relevant domain managers and asking them to link content. Although it can take some research and time to devise your linking campaign correctly, it is worth it. Once you establish your site as a credible source, your rankings will go up considerably, and then it is just a matter of maintenance.

In the world of SEO, there are so many things that you have to do and remember. But if you want to drive traffic to your website, SEO is critical. We know that as a business owner, you already have twenty full-time jobs, and SEO should not be one of them. Hiring our digital marketing company is the best way to enhance your site’s credibility and increase your exposure and online presence. Contact us and let’s start building your online reputation and authority today!