35 Most Common Link Building Terms Explained

35 Most Common Link Building Terms Explained

Ever had this feeling?

You’re reading a link building post…

And feel like you’re smashing head against a slab of concrete.

You know the advice is good and that you should do whatever the author says. But you just have no clue what half of the terms they used mean.


Link building is so complex and technical. It can be hard for a beginner to grasp its key concepts. And then there’s that imminent danger of building one bad link and sinking your rankings.

That’s why I decided to explain 35 of the most common link building terms.

Here they are.

ALT tag

Alt tag is a text that appears when a cursor hovers over an image. This copy typically resides in an image HTML code. It describes the image to Google and provides a strong relevancy signal.

Anchor text

Anchor text is a visible and clickable portion of a link. It should give a reader an idea of what the content it links to is all about and tease them to click to it.



A website’s authority is based on its domain’s age, quality and popularity of content, quality and quantity of its backlinks and ranking.


Backlink is a link pointing to your site from another site. The amount and quality of backlinks are both strong ranking signals.

Brand mention

This is simply a mention of a brand online. Brand mentions often include a link and may also include additional information about a brand. Companies use them as a metric of popularity or content marketing success.

Broken link

A broken link is link pointing to a page, site or other resource that no longer exists. Users who click on broken links typically go to a 404 page or content irrelevant to one they hoped to find.

Broken links provide bad user experience and too many of them on a site might render it less trustworthy.

Broken link building

Broken link building is a strategy of acquiring links that originally pointed to non-existing resources. In the process, a link builder seeks out broken links on other sites, contacts their webmasters and offers a relevant substitute on their domain.


A citation is a mention of a business’ name, address and a phone number on another website. Citations are a strong local SEO ranking factor.

Citation links

Citation links are non-linked mentions of a business’ website on another site. For instance www.mystore.com is not an active link (i.e. you can’t click it) but Google can still index and crawl it.

Click Through Rate (CTR)

CTR denotes a percentage of times your search listing is clicked vs. the number of times it is shown. Originally this term related to PPC ad impressions, however Google started to also indicate CTR per keyword in Google Webmaster Tools.

Competitive backlink research

This term refers to a process of analysing a competitor’s link profile with an aim to discern their strategies and find quick link building opportunities (i.e. links you can quickly recreate for your business).


This term is used to describe any information available on a page. Content can refer to various media: text, images, presentations, graphics, videos and more.

Content’s quality is one of the ranking factors.

Deep links

Deep links are backlinks pointing to any other page on a site than a homepage. An example of a deep link would be www.mystore.com/product/grumpy-thirt.

Disavow Tool

A tool you can use to tell Google or Bing which of your links they should ignore.Disavow tool helps to assure that those low quality links pointing to your site will not potentially hurt your rankings or cause a penalty.

Do-follow links

These links send what’s called a link juice to a page they point to. You should strive to gain as many of those into your backlink profile. You can tell them by the lack of re=nofollow attribute in their HTML code.

Domain Authority (DA)

A metric developed by Moz to indicate how a website might perform in search. DA is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 with the highest score denoting the highest authority.

Domain Rank

Ahrefs’ own metric indicating the importance of a domain by measuring the quality of its backlinks. Just like DA, Domain Rank is measured on a scale of 0 to 100.

Ego Bait

A link building tactic involving posting a flattering content about an individual in hope that they will link to and promote it.

External links

These are links that point from your site to another resource. Linking out to other relevant sources provides a good user experience and is also considered a minor ranking factor.

Inbound links

These links point to your site from other sites. When you build links, you try to acquire more inbound links.


This term refers to a process of cross-linking relevant pages on your site to provide additional reference and information.

Internal link

That’s a link from one page of your site to another, aimed to point readers to more relevant content you created on a subject.

Link asset

A piece of content on your site that should drive interest and compel people to link to it.

Link bait

A link building strategy designed to creating link assets guaranteed to attract links. Take ThinkGeek’s Canned Unicorn Meat. Naturally such product does not exist. But its product page drives a lot of links and publicity.

Link juice

Link juice is a term describing SEO benefit from a link. Typically link juice relates to the amount of Page Rank a page receives from the linking domain.

Link profile

This term refers to all sites linking to a particular domain. The term encompasses the amount, quality, variety and authority of its backlinks.

Link velocity

That’s the speed at which a site amasses new links. As a general rule, gaining links too fast is bound to look suspicious.

No-followed links

A rel=nofollow attribute in the link’s HTML code tells Google that it should not pass any link juice to its target. The nofollow tag is often used on sponsored or paid links to avoid any suspicion on trying to manipulate a site’s rankings.

Organic link

A link a site earned naturally without any work from its owners. Ideally you should gain all your links organically by creating content other webmasters will want to link to.

Page rank

Google’s metric used to analyse the importance of a web page by measuring the incoming links from other sites. According to Google’s John Mueller however, Pagerank might have already become a redundant metric.

Referring IP

A referring IP denotes an IP address a linking website is hosted on. Many SEOs believe that variety of IP addresses and IP neighbourhood (quality of other sites on the same IP) is a link profile quality factor.

Root domain

This is a base domain of a site, i.e. mystore.com.

Sitewide link

A sitewide link is located on every page of a site. You can often see them in a sidebar or footer of a site. Sitewide links are now considered to be a negative ranking signal.

Unnatural link

This is a link that’s been intentionally placed on a site with an intention to improve a site’s rankings. Google often sends webmasters unnatural link warnings if it considers particular links in their backlink profile spammy or suspicious.

URL rank

Ahrefs’ metric to indicate how important the URL is based on the number and the quality of backlinks pointing to it. URL rank is scored from 0 to 100.

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