I've seen a lot written here from people who cannot gain links, or have problems gaining them.
Let me give you a few tips.
First off, I am going to talk about being on the receiving end of email requests.
Don't send me an automated email. These stick out like a sore thumb. If you want my attention, then go to my site, find out who I am, read my conditions. They are all there, plain and simple.
Don't tell me that your site is related to mine when I am selling cars, and you are selling tulips. Please tell me how we are related, because no matter how long and hard I look at it, I cannot see a relationship between the two sites.
Don't dictate to me what you want your link on a PR5 page, when your own homepage is PR0 and the page you want to place my link on is PR0 and not even cached.
Don't tell me how important link exchanges are and how we will both benefit by it. How do we both benefit ? My site has been going for years, yet I cannot even find yours in Google, so how am I going to benefit by it?
Don't write to me and tell me how much you liked my site... then ask me for my homepage address etc. Surely you haven't forgotten already, you were just there a moment ago... oh no, you weren't were you. Just another automated tool.
Don't write and ask for a link, then tell me that I have to add mine first.
I never listen to people who have "SEO" "Expert" "Specialist" "Links Manager" in their title. Self proclaimed people offer more than they deliver. I have never come across one that has proved me wrong. You may fool the n00bs, but you won't fool me... and it's me you want the link from, right ?
Don't send me a request for a 3 way link. Apart from the fact that they can be detected, the site that you want my link to be on has no inbound links so no-one will ever visit it, and rarely - if ever - gets cached.
You are wasting your time as well as mine. Mailwasher is my friend, and your email gets deleted without even checking your site.
Now, if you want to gain links...
Don't have your hyperlink to your links page right at the bottom of the page... often in a small font... extremely often the link is only on the homepage. No-one will really visit it and I won't be receiving any traffic from it.
Have a link to your links page on every page where you have your menu, and have it in the menu. Let people see it. That alone will give you more of a chance of gaining an exchange.
Even if the rest of the site is in say, php. Make your links page[s] is in plain old html. I refuse to link exchange with php pages. Why would I want to be on example.com/links.php one day, and on example.com/links.php?2332rkd4 the next ?
Give me a stable static link.
Keep it related.
Don't link to unrelated sites. If you need to, make another page for those. Keep them away from your main niche. When I check out your site, I want to see links that are related to your site and mine. Nothing else.
Make sure your site is not under constuction.
Make sure your links work, that the site looks professional, and limit the amount of spelling errors.
Don't outsource. You are wasting your money 99% of the time, and you have no control over the links. That is because your "Links Manager" / "SEO Specialist" has control.
Sure, you may gain a few links by doing the above, but you'll not get the links you want. Experienced webmasters / site owners can spot BS a mile off.
The only ones you will fool are newbies, the inexperienced and the desparate.
So you want to gain your inbound links...
Visit the site. Find out who is behind it and write to them by name. Don't say you have a "related site", but you could say "I have a related car site"
That way, I know your site is related to mine without looking at it. My name is there so I know you haven't used an automated tool... I am still listening and I have "mailwashed" you.
Link to me on your html page that doesn't have too many links on it and wait for it to be cached. Then write to me. I still may decline, or I may ask for it to be moved, but I am still listening.
I will check out your site now and see how it looks.
Does it look spammy / blackhat / too long to load / scraped ?
Is it cluttered with adverts (esp if all above the fold)
Does the site look like its been made by someone who cares, or does it look like it was made by someone whose been given a PC at Xmas ? (20 font per page, pages that are 30mb in size, music playing, green text on a red background etc etc.)
BTW, mine is not a car site. I used that as an example.
I have not been hit by Panda, Big Daddy, Florida etc.