You’re still being too complicated. Let me try and break it down.
A.) When you do any move, it starts up, hits, then recovers.
B.) A combo is putting two or more moves together before the opponent recovers
C.) A cancel is when you CANCEL your first move into your second move without waiting for it to recover.
B.) A link is when you WAIT for the first move to recover, then do the second move. The second move will still combo.
For example, let’s take Ryu’s crouching medium punch.
First his arm sticks out a bit(startup). Then it hits the opponent(hit). Then he brings his arm back to his body(recovery).
Now Ryu’s crouching medium punch can be CANCELLED into a hadouken. This means that while his arm is hitting, or while he’s bringing his arm back into his body, you can do the hadouken. Ryu will instantly stop his punch, and a hadouken will come out. That is a CANCEL.
Now let’s say you want to combo that crouching medium punch into a crouching roundhouse. If you press the roundhouse button while the medium punch is hitting, nothing will happen. Why is that? It’s because that combo is a LINK. So what’s a link? A link is when you let your move start, hit, recover, THEN do another move.
So we do the crouching medium punch. We wait for ryu’s fist to come out, hit the opponent, then come back into his body. THEN we hit the crouching roundhouse. That is a link.
I hope that helped!