Over past year or two, one thing has become extremely clear...the need for link popularity. Every major engine weighs link popularity of sites heavily when ranking sites. At least one major engine even claims they won't index sites that don't have at least one link pointing to them from another site.
Unfortunately, building link popularity can be one of most challenging aspects of search engine promotion. It's tedious, boring, extremely time consuming, and ABSOLUTELY essential.
That being said, let's go over some things you should and shouldn't do when beginning your link popularity campaign.
We'll start first with "shouldn't" list so we can get those out of way and focus on what will actually work.
*Don't bother with FFA pages. They worked at one time but now most engines have learned to filter out FFA pages, and even if they don't your link will most probably rotate off results page in a matter of minutes, but you can guarantee that your email address will remain in their database for YEARS.
*Don't join link farms. These were a good idea once as well, but have come under heavy fire by engines over past year.
*Don't use hidden links with goal of building your link popularity. I'm of opinion that one or two throughout a site is no big deal, but don't go overboard with them.
*Don't use free classifieds to get your URL out there. You are just asking to receive mass amounts of junk mail.
Ok...now that we know some of things NOT to do, let's get down to some things that you can do to build your link popularity.
*The first thing you should do is to get your site listed in "Big 3" directories. Those are Yahoo, LookSmart, and ODP. Yes, Yahoo and LookSmart are expensive (even more so since their recent price increases), but one link from each of them can go a long way in boosting your link popularity.
*Next you should concentrate on finding sites that are of a similar nature to yours and approach them about linking to you. Stay away from off-topic sites. Links from sites of same theme as yours help to reinforce your theme and further help in boosting your search engine rankings. Be creative in your thinking. Attempt to develop a list of all different types of sites that relate to yours. Once you have this list you can then begin to search for those specific types of sites.
*Create a link page listing all of sites that you wish to link to you. By linking to sites you are going to be contacting first, they will be more likely to link back to you when you contact them.