deadsea - 9:31 pm on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)
You are correct that you can't rank in Google without links (or possibly social nowdays). I always suggest to my clients that they build links. Buying links can be risky, but asking for links from relevant (or even semi-relevant) sites in not risky. There is a fine art to white-hat link building and tons of good articles on the whiter-hat SEO sites about how to do it.
I personally don't have the patience, willingness to mass email, or subtlety to do it myself. I always hire somebody with experience or somebody fresh out of school that can be trained.