Do Unique Root Domains Matter More For Link Building?

September 12, 2022

Jeremy Moser

When it comes to link building, you’ll often hear people say that unique root domains is a key factor. 

More importantly, they claim that getting multiple links from the same domain has no greater net impact on rankings, traffic, authority, than a single link from that domain does.

The common school of thought is: once you get a link from X domain, getting any more from them is not worth as much as getting another unique domain.  

I’m here to shed light on whether this is true or false. 

TL;DR: Is It Okay To Get Multiple Backlinks From The Same Domain? 

Yes, unequivocally so. In fact, it may actually be gold standard.

Getting multiple unique root domains (individual websites) linking back to you is amazing. But so is having a great website link back to you time and time again. 

Think of it this way:

Let’s say you are a SaaS company, and HubSpot is the gold standard of backlinks for your niche.

If HubSpot links to you once, that’s a huge win. But, it might just be a one-off happenstance where your link / article just happened to fit.

It’s a win. There’s no doubting that. However, there’s more to consider: 

  • What if HubSpot never links to you again?
  • What if that single link gets replaced, removed, or they 404 / delete the content? 
  • What happens if that link is 1-2 years old vs a fresh or repeated mention and  link? 

Now it gets interesting, right! 

Links are like Yelp reviews: the more you have from credible sources, the more trust you gain and the better you’ll be favored in search results. 

Now, as a user seeing those Yelp reviews, do you trust a review from 5 years ago? Yes, but you want to know if it is still relevant or accurate. 

Meaning you want to see reviews from that same person over the span of months to years to make sure it’s still as good as it once was.

In simple terms: 

If HubSpot keeps linking to your content, Google is going to see that as a repeated trust signal where a massive brand now thinks you are the go-to reference on a specific topic.

Repeated trust signals are key, and often more impactful than one-off mentions.

The idea that you should get one single link from a domain and then never get another one is missing the point of link building in the first place: establish trust and become the authority in a topic or niche.

And you don’t become the authority by getting one link one time. You become the authority by continually getting cited as the topic expert.

If you want the details on why, keep reading:

Why Unique Root Domains Are Important

Unique root domains are critically important because it shows a wide consensus in a niche saying that your website and content is trusted. 

While repeated links from the same domain are very impactful, diversity is important too. 

Your goal should be both: 

Get more unique websites to link to you more times, over and over, for years and years. 

This plays into EAT and SEO. Here’s what Google says directly on the topic: 

As you can see, Google cares about: 

  • Reputation amongst a niche
  • Real users, experts, and news sources citing you as the authority on a topic 

The more the better, but quality matters most. 

As Google states, “find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website.” 

Keyword: experts. More than one. 

Unique domains help you to achieve this criteria that Google Quality Raters assess when determining which content to rank organically.

However, it doesn’t tell the full story…

Why Repeated Domains Are Important

Repeated domains, in other words, earning multiple links from the same site is positive and important. 

First off, It’s a repeated trust signal. 

If you have just one link from a unique website, that’s a great start. But repeated links signal that a website is referencing you, on a consistent basis, as the thought leader or expert. 

If HubSpot keeps mentioning my content every time I publish a new piece, or within multiple pieces on their site, it’s a great sign that I’ve created something truly impactful.

And that’s what Google cares about most:

Promoting and ranking content that trusted authorities point to and recommend. 

In addition, repeated domains also act as a digital link “insurance” — if you only have one link from a fantastic domain, what happens when they remove that link, replace it, delete the content you are linked within, etc? 

You are going to take a noticeable hit in authority and rankings. 

Multiple links ensure that in the event of content changing or shifting, you still have other valuable mentions!

When Repeated Links Can Be Harmful

Repeated links from the same domain are only harmful if you are trying to game the system.

Things like…

  • 15 links from the same domain…
  • With the same author…
  • To the same URL….
  • With the same anchor text…

Links like this are a huge red flag because it’s just not natural nor helpful to users. 

Repeated links are only harmful if you are spamming them across the internet in unnatural ways. 

But, this applies to anything in link building.

If you are spamming Fiverr, forums, and directories, you’ll have a problem with Google.

If you are publishing great content and tools and building trust, you will see massive improvements. 

Tying it Together: How to Determine Your Linking Domain Strategy

Forming a link building strategy is half the battle of link building.

Building aimless links for the sake of “getting more links” is far less impactful than knowing:

  • What pages to build links to on your site
  • From which domains in your niche
  • On which subset of topics and articles 
  • And with what anchor texts 

And then, knowing how to internally link properly on your site to pass authority from page to page. 

Doing this is what produces real results with link building, and why it’s always recommended to either fully outsource link building, or bring in a link building strategy team alongside your in-house efforts.

Tying it together, what should you prioritize in your link building strategy? 

  1. Unique root domains
  2. Repeated domains

Well, neither should be the main focus.

Your main focus should instead be earning the highest quality links, no matter if they are unique root domains or repeated domains.

More (but better quality) links produce better impact than low quality unique root domains.

Focus your efforts on the strategies that earn backlinks from real websites with traffic and authority. 

Jeremy Moser

Jeremy Moser

Jeremy is Co-founder and CEO of uSERP and has spearheaded SEO campaigns for global brands like SoFi, Robinhood, Freshworks, monday.com, & 100s more. He's a Forbes 30 under 30 in Marketing & Advertising.