As an SEO agency we have had to really keep abreast of the Google updates since Panda started a couple of years ago. Google has gotten really smart and it now means that any unnatural looking links will probably either be de-valued or get your website penalised. The basic rule now is don’t build links, instead promote your website as if links don’t matter. But here are a few rules on how not to build links, just to make thinge clear.
Avoid anything automated
Anything which involves software has likely been found out by Google. So don’t mass blog comment, bookmark, directory submit or anything else which basically involves posting to many websites all at once. They will be low value links anyway and will likely put you in Google’s bad books.
Avoid link networks
A network (or link farm) is a collection of websites created with the explicit purpose of selling links. Pligg bookmarking sites, directories with similar names or IP addresses and “private” blog networks should all be avoided. They will all get de-indexed by Google at some point and that is obviously a bad thing.
Stop buying links altogether
This is easier said than done for big businesses in competitive markets, but most small and medium sized companies should find that buying links is not needed. I know you don’t want to hear this but manual work and networking is the way to do it. The more you get out there and socialise with anyone else that may be interested in your business, the better. You will gain confidence quickly and soon realise that it is OK to contact other website owners.
The key is to offer something so that people will want to link to you without you having to ask. Make a page about your industry better than the Wikipedia page, create a how to video, do some market research worth sharing, be the first to break some news… There is plenty that can be done and by already having a network you can share your content with, the easier it is to get out there. Basically you now need to make shareable content and make sure the right people see it, then let nature take its course.