The digital marketing world may sometimes feel endless, and SEO is one of its major players. However, when speaking about SEO, link building goes hand in hand. Your link-building strategy or profile is the key to getting a higher keyword ranking and generating more significant organic traffic that will be redirected to your website.
The two essential components for a strong link profile are backlinks and referring domains. Many strategies or new learners easily confuse the two, mainly their general meaning, purpose, and use. But understanding the search engine’s interpretation of the two will help you strategize and improve conversion rate and organic traffic. Here is a quick guide to help you differentiate between backlinks and referring domains.
However, before we jump into the details, we need to learn the meaning of the two keywords and their understanding attributes or say some of the few basic terms.
In layman’s terms, the domain is simply the website’s name that usually comes after ‘@’ in an email or ‘www.’ in a web address. A company’s unique descriptor is mentioned in the URL— for example, Google.com or yahoo.com.
The domain from which traffic or bots are generated or driven to your domain or website is called referring domain. In other words, the domain from which backlinks come is the referring domain or ref domain. They are also known as ‘linking domains.’
Backlinks are created to reap SEO benefits. It is simply a hyperlink created on one website (referring domain) directing to your website. They are also known as inbound links. There can be more than one backlink on a webpage or site.
Backlinks vs. Referring Domains
To understand their differences, we need to study backlinks and referring domains further and learn about their objectives.
1. Referring Domains:
Ref domains are the websites from which the traffic visits your webpage. They act like an external website that directs visitors to your content. They contain your web page’s backlinks aiming to increase views. You can have multiple backlinks on a single referring domain. Their purpose is to fulfill two main objectives.
- Backlick built helps in driving referral traffic.
- Referral traffic links may not necessarily be a backlink (Eg. affiliated links).
Note: Referral traffic is the visitors to your site driven by referring to the backline mentioned on the referral domain.
As you know, backlinks direct the audience from one webpage to another. Each link is placed in various elements like images, buttons, texts, etc. When you index a new page on your site, google crawls through the links onto that page and checks if it is worth following. When you embed a backlink in text, the words with the hyperlink are called links anchor texts that carry ranking weight with google.
Backlinks act as feedback. They tell the search engines what other web pages think about your page. But the quantity of backlinks does not matter; instead, the quality does. If your backlink comes from a trusted and authoritative website, it holds more value. It also implies that the referring domain thinks your content is valuable to their audience.
For instance, Miss. Jane is a marketing strategist and is looking for marketing tips on google (search engine). They come across a website called ‘abc.com’ with an article about the best marketing blogs for tips and mention your website as one of them. Miss. Jane clicks on the link mentioned on ‘abc.com’ and is directed to your webpage. Miss. Jane is the referral traffic, the link to your website on the article is ‘backlink,’ and ‘abc.com’ is the referring domain.
Key Differences: Backlinks vs Referring Domains
|Area of Difference||Backlinks||Referring Domains|
|Meaning:||They are hyperlinks directing to another web page.||They are web pages containing backlinks.|
|Also known as:||Onway links or inbound links.||Linking domains.|
|Function:||Improve the website’s crawl frequency.||It helps drive referral traffic to the web page.|
|Direction:||All backlinks come from ref domains.||Not all ref domains give out the same backlinks to a website.|
|Relationship between the two:||They are products of referring domains.||They produce backlinks.|
|Value:||Many backlinks on a few ref domains have a negative value by being looked at for having shady backlinks.||Multiple ref domains with a fair number of backlinks positively value the search engines.|
|Tracking tools:||Google Webmaster tool displays the embedded backlinks.||The analytics tool’s referral section shows the number of referral domains.|
Understanding the difference between backlinks and linking domains might be necessary if your ultimate goal is website growth. Properly strategizing the usage of both terminologies helps to gain a higher ranking on search engines like Google or Bing. If you still feel confused or stuck on its implementation or tracking, you can also take the help of an SEO expert.
Remember, quantity over quality may negatively impact your page rank. Google punishes high backlinks from a few referring domains as a paid linking scheme and de-indexes such blog networks entirely. Lastly, go slow. Take time. Build a quality network and enjoy your rewards. It will be worth it.
Also, check the difference between digital marketing and e-commerce.