Referring domains

If search engine optimization is part of your daily tasks, you most likely have heard of referring domains. It is an important metric for SEO specialists, especially when measuring the results of a link-building strategy. It also can help you get a high domain authority, and therefore shine on the SERP for your targeted keywords. Here's everything you need to know about this crucial KPI.


  • 2 +

    Templates using this KPI

  • 2 +

    Integrations using this KPI

What are referring domains ?

Referring domains, which can also be called linking domains, are external websites from which your web page gets one or more backlinks.

Although incredibly similar, there are some differences from backlinks, which are 1 hyperlink pointing back at your domain, from other domains. For example, if you have 3 links from Ahrefs, then it would count as 3 backlinks but 1 referring domain.

Track your referring domains today
referring domains

How to calculate your referring domains

They are a multitude of tools that can give you a full backlinks report, which includes all referring domains. It will also tell you if the links are high-quality, your new backlinks, and on what anchor text they have been placed. Tools such as Ahrefs, or Moz do an excellent job to give you all the necessary data about your backlinks and you can track this data from both tools with Dasthis. 

What is a good number of referring domains?

This is a hard one because there aren't industry benchmarks. A good way to see if you have a good backlink profile is to compare it to your competitor's. Make sure you have at least the same number of referring domains, and ideally more as the websites you want to outrank. The general rule of thumb is the more referring domains the better, as long as they are from quality sources and were acquired organically. 

Track yours with an automated report

What is a bad number of referring domains?

Again, it's hard to know if you gave a bad total number of referring domains without spying on competitors. Also, check if you have more outbound links than inbound links, which isn't a good indicator. If you are just starting or your strategy isn't generating wanted results, we recommend checking our best practices section. 

Track yours with an automated report

Referring domains KPI examples & templates

Your referring domains report can be added to monthly reports. Here are a few : 

See this KPI in action here!

SEO report template SEO report template

This report contains all of the most important metrics for your SEO strategy from your favorite SEO tools, like Moz, Ahrefs, SEMrush, or Google analytics. Track your number of backlinks, top referral sources, domain authority, top queries, and your overall SEO performance. 

See this template live

Google Analytics report template Google Analytics report template

Track all your webpage data, from traffic sources like organic traffic or referral traffic, audience metrics, conversions, transactions, sessions, and top pages. Grab this template as it is or personalize it in a few clicks.

See this template live

Digital marketing report template Digital marketing report template

Are you reaching your target audience? Are your marketing efforts generating new clients or conversions? From SEO to social media and PPC, this generic report gives you a good overview of all your online marketing strategy metrics.

See this template live

Get 10 free dashboards for 15 days


Referring domains best practices

When performing a link-building strategy, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind. 

Referring domains best practices

step 1 icon Don't get too many referring domains at once

Unfortunately, you are at Google's mercy and you need to be careful to not be on its bad side. Building backlinks and referring domains should be as organic as possible. Focus on long-term content marketing strategies, guest blogging on quality links, directories with high domain authority, etc. Getting a too high number of backlinks in a month will most likely get flagged by the Google search engine results algorithm.

step 2 icon Keep an eye out for broken links

A great way to get backlinks is to keep an eye out for broken links on quality web pages. As a website owner, you don't want broken links, so why don't you find awesome opportunities and recommend your content to replace them? This is a great practice, especially if one of your competitors closes the shop or gets bought. Along with thorough keyword research, also check referring domains and contact those website owners to add your own links. 

step 3 icon Quality links from quality websites

Although we said earlier that the more links the better, you also need to focus on quality. The quality of your link profile is a very important factor for Google. Low-quality backlinks can actually hurt your search engine ranking, whereas high-quality referring domains, even if you have much fewer website links, should help your page rank. You also want to diversify your type of referral domain: resource page, web directories, podcasts, blog comments, forums, etc. 

Want to track all your KPIs in one easy-to-use dashboard?

Try dashthis free

Referring Domains Synonyms

Although referring domains is widely used, there are multiple synonyms that can be used. Here are a few: 

Ref. domains, RDs, Linking domains, Followed RDs, Dofollow RDs, Unique domains

Ressources about referring domains

KPIs you may also like

Digital Marketing reporting dashboard

Get Started Today!

Try DashThis

Made in Canada

DashThis is a brand owned by Moment Zero inc

Copyright © 2011-2024