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Do links still work or should I start looking at some other alternatives?
As a matter of interest , is your website under 1 year old, and in a very competitive niche?
Or a niche with lots of established heavy weights?
My website is around 5 years old and is an authority website in its niche.
define "acquiring" and you may have the answer.
By acquiring, I don't mean spam junk backlinks. I mean incoming links from authority websites. Or perhaps you mean something else which I haven't been able to understand.
are they bought links?
Have you been gaining any natural links? Are all your links reciprocal or are some one-way? When you "acquire" the links, do you specify the anchor text, or do you leave it up to the person doing the linking? Are all the links to your home page, or are some of them deep links? Are the links on "link" pages or are they on content pages? Are the links on content pages in the actual content or on the navigation parts of the page?
Google has been putting a lot of effort into analyzing links lately, and quality natural links seem to be worth a lot more than links that are "acquired". The acquired links are still worth something, but only in the mix with the natural links.
However I would classify the links as acquired but in a natural way. Simply put, I request website owners to link to my specific webpages which they do so.
From my past experience doing identical things, Google rewarded me for my manually thematic one way link building.
I would be interested to know an update and/or a possible solution on the subject.