The Link Building Book
4 minute read

Link building glossary

4 minute read

This section is a quick reference guide for a range of terms used in this book that are specifically related to link building.

Anchor text

The part of a link that is clickable for the user, usually highlighted in a different color and underlined.

Advanced search query

A query that you can use to tell the search engines to return a specific set of results compared to standard keyword searches.


A value assigned to a document based on the reputation of it’s author, perhaps changing the way that document ranks and the amount of link equity it can pass to other pages. (Also known as AgentRank)


Often used to describe a website or a person who is influential in their field of work.

Branded keywords

Keywords that include the name of a brand, company, or website.

Broken link

A link that when clicked on or crawled by a search engine returns an error code (e.g., 404, 410, or 503).

Cached page

The version of a webpage or document stored by the search engines on their servers.

Citation flow

Invented by Majestic, Citation Flow is a metric assigned to a URL, designed to predict how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.

Commercial keywords

Keywords that include words that a particular website wants to rank for that are not it’s own brand name.


The information (text, images, videos, audio, etc.) on pages of a website.


Refers to search engines bots (or spiders) that move around the web, collect information, and store it in a search index (or database).

Deep link

A link that points to any webpage that is not the homepage of a domain.


When an entire website or a particular page is not in the index of a search engine, usually meaning it will not appear in search results.


A website that collects and categorizes lists of links to websites.

Disavow tool

Refers to tools available from Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools that allow a webmaster to report links which they don’t trust and don’t want to be counted in the link graph.

Domain authority

Typically, this refers to a metric used by Moz that “predicts” the ability of a domain to rank in search results by giving it a score between 0 and 100, with 100 being the highest.

Domain rating

Used by Ahrefs, Domain Rating is a metric given to a domain on a scale of 0-100, and looks at the quantity and quality of external backlinks to a website.

External link

A link on a domain that points to another domain.

Followed links

Links that the search engines count in their link graph of the web.


Often referring to patterns displayed by various links that are similar to each other. Can be used to identify link networks or automated links.

Guest posting

Writing a piece of content for a domain that is not yours and giving it to them in return for a link to the domain that you do own.

HTTP status code

The response code returned to a search engine crawler or web browser when a page is loaded. Most common codes include 200, 301, 302, 404, and 500.

Inbound link

A link from another domain pointing at your domain.


A visualization of data or information into an easy to consume form than text content.

IP address

Stands for Internet Protocol address. Every computer connected to the Internet has a unique number assigned to it that is known as an IP address.

Link bait

A piece of content created with the specific purpose of attracting inbound links or attention.

Link building

The process of acquiring links from other domains to your own, usually through some intentional or passive activity.

Link profile

The entirety of links pointing at a single domain.

Link removal

The process of removing links to a domain.

Negative SEO

The practice of building low quality links to a domain that you do not own, with the goal of reducing its organic search rankings.

Nofollow link

A link that you tell search engines not to follow by using a special meta tag (rel=”nofollow”)

Page authority

The strength of a single page on a domain, commonly referring to a metric created by Moz which assigns a score between 0 – 100 based on the quantity and quality of links pointing at it.


Invented by Google co-founder Larry Page, this is what Google use to measure the strength of a page, based on the quantity and quality of links pointing at it.

Paid links

Links that are acquiring by exchanging money.


An action search engines take to manually reduce the rankings of a particular page or domain for violating its webmaster guidelines. Google’s official name for for a penalty is a Manual Action.


A Google algorithm update, first launched in April 2012, focusing on reducing the rankings of websites that had been over-optimized. It is now part of Google’s real-time algorithm.

Reconsideration request

Sent by a webmaster to Google if their website has had a penalty applied to it, in the hope of having that penalty lifted.


Used to direct users and search engines to a location that’s different than the link they originally tried to visit. Usually with a HTTP status code of 301 or 302.

Sitewide links

External links that are placed on every (or the majority) of pages on a website. Common examples include blogroll links or footer links.

Spam links

Links that are not editorially controlled, produced in large numbers, and automated by software. Usually add no value for real users.

Trust flow

A metric invented by Majestic, predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours.

Unnatural link warnings

Messages sent by Google to webmasters to inform them of the presence of what they believe to be unnatural (also known as low quality or spam) links.

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