Acquiring links and building them correctly to increase your search engine ranking is a time-consuming task but can greatly benefit your website. Don't let the horror stories mislead you about Google because in most cases, the webmaster was doing something suspicious or out-dated which resulting in their site being flagged for spam and their rankings suddenly dropped off the top 10 search results. For example, the webmaster may have built thousands of links to their site from a link directory.
1. Ensure that you are acquiring links naturally and evenly over time. Your links should be attained consistently and organically. Google analyzes the age of links and the rate they are acquired and then uses this information to calculate the search results.
2. As a rule, don't purchase links. Buying links with the intention of boosting your rankings are against Google's terms of service, and you risk being penalized. These kinds of links may work but are generally not worth the potential damage unless you are confident you know what you are doing.
3. Forget about link-swapping or link-trading schemes. These are obvious to Google, and either no longer work or may even harm your site.
4. Don't spam message boards, article sites or blog comments with crappy content. These tactics might work temporarily, but strategies such as these are outdated very quickly.
5. There are paid networks out there offering to build new links to your site for a low monthly fee each month. Never use them. These networks are against Google’s terms of service and using them is a quick way to ensure you find yourself in hot water with Google.
So, to answer the question "How should I acquire links?". Below are a few suggestions to help with acquiring backlinks.
1. Add your web address to all incoming and outgoing emails
2. When answering questions on forums reference back to your website if you are referencing your company information.
3. Include it in your signature line on all incoming and outgoing emails.
4. Use appropriate references that link to your marketing materials, photos, and infographics on your website.
5. Join groups that involve your websites industry and reference content on your site when possible.
6. Write product testimonials.
7. Contact journalists and important bloggers.
8. Take advantage of guest articles.
9. Promote your website on social media
10. Stay up to date on leading competitors and try to replicate their marketing tactics.