By now most website owners know why it is so important to increase their site's link popularity. From an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) standpoint, there are few things that you can do that will be more effective than link building for your search index rankings. And fortunately this is one area that you can work on which is still largely free of charge. The rewards are substantial: by increasing your site's link popularity you will be increasing it's Google Pagerank (PR) while helping it to climb in the rankings.
The first method of building links to your site is from traditional link-swapping.
This is easy; you simply find another (similiar but non-competing) website that you would like to trade links with.
Link to them first, then email them and ask for a link in return. Do not overdo this, however. Nowadays your reciprical links should probably not exceed a quarter of your total incoming links, according to some experts. The rest of your incoming links should be one-way backlinks.
A tried and true way to obtain such one-way links for free is to write an article about something that you are knowledgeable about, preferably something related to the theme of your website, and submit that article to the article directories and other publishers. The key benefit here is the viral marketing aspect; one article can potentially produce many backlinks to your website.
When you submit your article, you may also submit a ‘resource box’ (also sometimes referred to as a byline or just resource area) where you can insert a link to whatever site or sites you choose. The directory informs webmasters that they may use your article on their site or newsletter in return for including your resource box. A well written article may be reprinted many times. This is viral marketing at it's best, in my opinion. Another reliable way to obtain free inbound, one way links is by submitting your site to directories.
Most directories are human edited and require you to find a suitable category before submitting.
Star with the high quality directories such as the Open Directory Project, or the DMOZ, then find the niche directories which pertain to your website. Next submit to some of the smaller directories. There are many to choose from which do not require either payment or a reciprical link.
A great way to obtain additional free links to your site is to post to forums. Do not post your website URL directly, however.
This will get you banned from that particular forum. Instead, insert your URL into the signature line.
Then when you comment naturally in the forum your website will appear automatically.
This method is completely accepted. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways to obtain a lot of links. You can literally secure hundreds of links this way over time. But only post if you have something truly relevant to say.
Ryan Joseph is a writer/researcher. More detail at http://www.julek.org