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What’s the difference between backlink and referring domain?


    Backlink is considered to be the most important factor for search engine optimization (SEO) and why not? This helps us to increase the reputation of our website on the Internet. But, we get to see another important factor in the SEO field — Referring Domains.

    Understanding the importance of referring domains in SEO is really crucial for maintaining high search rankings and building website authority. The quality and quantity of the referring domains can make a huge difference in your SEO efforts.

    Every link is not the same. Each link may have different SEO weightage. It is better to make one hundred backlinks from different referring domains than making two hundred of backlinks on one website.

    A sizable number of unique referring domains may help increase traffic sources, unique site visitors and page views.


    Referring domain, also known as “linking domain” or “ref domain”, is a domain from where visitors come to your website. Means, if we have put a link of our website on an another website and someone comes to our website by clicking on that link shared on that website, then it is a referring domain for us.


    In the above image, you can see several referring domains (linking domains) with different numbers of backlinks linking to a single website, showing how external websites drive referral traffic to your domain.

    Your website or blog may have several referring domains and these domains may contain one or more backlinks that point to your website. In the same way, your website may also be considered a referring domain, if it has links that direct visitors to external websites.

    For instance, Site A (external website) is thought to be a referring domain if it has one or two backlinks referring to Site B ( your own website). It doesn’t matter if you receive multiple backlinks from Site A (external website), it is still considered one referring domain for your blog or website.

    On the other hand, 50 different websites linking back to your own website are considered 50 different referring domains. However, you can’t control the number of links per referring domain.

    So, don’t be confused while identifying backlinks and referring domains.


    Having more and more referring domains may have following benefits:

    • The more referring domains we have on our website, the more traffic we will get.
    • This improves the ranking of our website and also improves the keyword ranking. Due to which traffic on our website also increases in an organic way.
    • If we are associated with a high authority domain and we are getting traffic from there, then it will also increase domain authority of our website.
    • As the traffic on the website will increase, so will the clicks on ads will also increase and this will help increase revenue.


    Today, we all are engaged in making more and more backlinks for our website, but we never think whether these links are beneficial for our website or not.

    Keep in mind that every referring domain has a backlink, but not every backlink is a referring domain. Remember, second backlink on a single referring domain does not hold as much importance as the first one.

    If your website or targeted web page has a high number of backlinks from a single referring domain, it can be considered as negative SEO, also called reverse SEO or black-hat SEO. Here, you need to analyze your website’s backlink profile.


    Now; you have come to know the difference between external backlinks and referring domains. In this section of the article, we will know how to check referring domain and backlinks.

    For this, you can use Ahrefs Tool. To check referring domains of your site, you need to follow these simple steps:

    • Got to “Site Explorer”
    • Enter your domain name
    • Click on “Referring Domains”.

    In the above screenshot, you can see top referring domains, number of backlinks and organic traffic pointed to that particular website.

    In addition, you can also check your backlink profile using Google Analytics Tool. For this, first you have to login to your Google Analytics dashboard. Then, go to Aquisition>> All Traffic>> Referrels.


    In the above screenshot, you can see the top referring domains of the website.


    Yes! Referring domains can be really crucial for your website’s SEO. They send positive signals to the search engines and help increase the quality and credibility of your website or web pages. In fact, Google itself counts each linking domain as a vote of confidence from external websites.

    Here; it is important to note that this doesn’t mean acquiring links from just any referring domain. You should keep some things in your mind while obtaining top referring domains; including:

    • Relevant to your niche
    • Trustworthiness
    • Quality and authority
    • Website’s trust flow score
    • Citation flow


    Referring domains can play a vital role, when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). It helps improve search engine rankings, online authority and brings a massive traffic to your website. In such a situation, if you are a blogger or website owner, then you should definitely know how beneficial the referring domains can be for your website. Try to focus acquiring more and more referring domains to your site. Hope, this article prove to be beneficial for you. If you have any question or suggestion, please write in the comment box below. And, don’t forget to share this article with others!

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