Unique Root Domains and SEO

SEO experts often perform massive studies of the Web, trying to figure out what the best way to rank on Google actually is.  Dozens of theories have been proposed, and they change as Google changes its algorithm.  A decade ago, it was PageRank that seemed to be all-important; a short time after that it was the total authority of your incoming link funnel.  But through all of it, there has been one attribute that has been the most consistent in matching up well with your Google rank: the number of unique root domains that your page has incoming links from.

linking root domains

The Power of Unique Root Domain Backlinks

For example, let’s look at a hypothetical webpage.  This webpage is new, and it’s focused on a keyword with remarkably low competition – only 400 competing pages.  The website’s author has a friend that works for Wikipedia, and manages to get the page linked to from seven different pages on Wikipedia.  That’s a lot of authority, and the page gets quickly indexed and appears in the #1 spot for it’s keyword on day one.


Then, along comes another webmaster who has stumbled upon the same phrase, and wants to win.  He doesn’t have a friend at Wikipedia, but he does know the value of unique root domains.  He starts a blog on WordPress, writes a Squidoo lens, gets his site listed in the Yahoo! Web Directory, puts an article up on EzineArticles.com, fits his website into an answer at Wis.Dm and squeezes in a guest post on a friend’s blog that has it’s own unique URL.  That’s six different unique root domains — none of which has the authority and power of Wikipedia behind it — but the effect is that he knocks the first webpage off of the #1 spot less than a week after he went into business.


Some Important Details

Just to be clear, what we’re talking about is the number of unique root domains linking to your website versus the number of unique root domains linking to your competitors’ websites for any given keyword.  For example, if the keyword is “betta fish” and you have 120 unique root domains linking back to you and your competitor has 150, chances are good that he will outrank you. For the keyword “fighting bettas”, however if the number one spot has only 90 unique root domains linking to him, your 120 are likely to defeat him and take the number one spot.


It should be noted that while the number of unique root domains linking to your website is a strong indicator of your website’s potential rank for any given keyword, it is only a strong indicator.  The best studies indicate that the statistic is wrong in just over a quarter of all cases — so there are clearly a lot of other factors to take into account.


How to Take Advantage

The outcome of this research is clear: if you want to rank highly for any given keyword, your first goal should be to record the number of unique root domains linking back to the top 3 sites for that keyword, and do whatever it takes to obtain backlinks from more unique root domains than they have.  It might not win the day on it’s own, but it’s a very solid place to start.

Talking about taking advantage, why don’t you read my free people search article and take advantage of this useful information to find and reconnect with long-lost friends? It might be a good idea to try.

About The Author

is the founder and CEO of Practical SEO and also a passionate blogger. All of his free time he dedicates to his Practical SEO blog and giving free advice as well as participating in the blogging community.

Connect with me on Facebook | Twitter | Google + | LinkedIn

15 Response to Unique Root Domains and SEO

  1. TrafficColeman on July 8, 2011

    Zarko here is the thing..Google see each page like a separate website if you know it or not..so if you can just build links for a certain page then you can out rank anyone..I been doing it for years now.

    But I do say those root links do hold some value though.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  2. Mark @ TheBitBot Organic SEO & SEM Blog on July 8, 2011

    I definitely see the value in having links from as many unique root domains as possible.

    Generally, this increases the variety of unique C-Class IP addresses pointing to your site.

    If I had a choice between 100 links from one domain or 100 links from 100 domains all other things being equal, I would definitely choose the structure with the most variety.

    Naturalness in terms of appearance definitely counts.


  3. Djordje@Los Angeles SEO on July 8, 2011

    I would agree with you, it is important to have links from different domains. Also, it is natural, as it is not logic that you have link from some big authority site, and that you do not have a lot of them from small sites.

  4. Martin@CDL Practice Test on July 8, 2011

    This is news to me, i wasn’t aware these kind of link are so powerful. I’l have to rethink my strategy. Looks like i still have a lot of work in front of me.

  5. fred@finallyfast on July 9, 2011

    >>>Zarko here is the thing..Google see each page like a separate website if you know it or not..so if you can just build links for a certain page then you can out rank anyone..I been doing it for years now.

    This is kind of the problem.. since they are treated as separate pages, it makes the task of building individual links for everything look so daunting

  6. Ryan Ward on July 9, 2011

    Hey Zarko,
    You’ve shared a very important article. Completely true that the number of unique root domains linking to our website is a strong indicator of the website’s potential rank. I’ve read a couple of your other articles on link building and has been thinking of ways to implement some of the techniques you shared on link baiting. Thanks and I hope to come across more helpful articles.

  7. Mark of Success on July 9, 2011

    Interesting findings, Zarko! I liked the fact that links from 6 small sites could beat 6 links from Wikipedia. Pretty interesting! Did you ever try it yourself and see similar results?


  8. Round Up # 29 — lawmacs web design blog on July 10, 2011

    [...] Unique Root Domains and SEO – SEO experts often perform massive studies of the Web, trying to figure out what the best [...]

  9. Kristina L.@TonerBoss Coupon Code on July 12, 2011

    Hey there, Žarko,
    It seems it is still the problem that unique domain roots which are linking to website are just an indicator of the potential rank of the site…therefore, not a guaranteee. But,I understand it is a very strong indicator, and other factors have to be taken into account in order to come to the best result we were hoping for. SEO is always a big topic for discussing, I feel there is constantly something new to be learned.

  10. Arrmondo@Memphis Hotels on July 13, 2011

    Great post. This was actually sent to me by a friend, because I kept bugging him about this question. I consistantly see competitors with mutliple liks from one domain. Good to know that there is still a chance.

  11. seo resellers on July 14, 2011

    Yeah. It will be better having back links from different domain than having it from same domain..but If you’re getting links from same domain but from different pages then you’re absolutely getting PR link juice from it & it’ll also work for some pages for improving SERP

  12. Roland@rome hotels on July 15, 2011

    Agree with you about that, the figure in unique root domain which is linking to our website could be a sign that we can attain a good website ranking. It is just a good barometer in gauging this website potential ranking.We area expecting more every time you have a post and absorb the information you are sharing. Just continue your good intention because you are helping you spectators.

  13. Amit@Forklift Training on July 25, 2011

    Well, it’s true i’ve seen websites with 100 backlinks from the same number of domains outranking websites with 10000 backlinks from 10 domains, but i’ve also seen the opposite. What matters the most is the quality of that website linking to you, and that’s hard to get.

  14. What is SEO - Practical SEO Blog on November 9, 2011

    [...] - Unique Root Domains and SEO [...]

  15. D.J.Rony on March 1, 2012

    It’s always the quality of the sites linking to your end. The quantity is not a fact anymore. And these days Google has gone far beyond ranking the root domain. It is now ranking each and every pages of a blog. Which was actually the plan when PR was created.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.