Here are medium-risk link building methods that we may or may not use:

Inbound links to pages optimized for Google Adsense and other affiliate program

People should click Google Adsense links because they are interested with them. It is not recommended to direct links to pages that are heavily optimized for various PPC programs. In fact, it is possible Google to ban and remove us from Adsense program for this activity. (Risk level: 3)

Low-quality directories

Directories are like catalogues that show a list of websites in specific categories. Reputable websites should provide us with decent boost in ranking, but not with obscure, low quality ones. A significant increase in link popularity can’t be achieved if we focus on low-quality links. It can be considered a waste of time to submit to new directories. In fact, if we suddenly get hundreds of links from many directories, search engines could think that we use some illegal techniques. (Risk level: 3)

Links written in sidebar, footer or header

Sidebar, footer and header are great place for adding links. Just like forum signature, our links will be displayed on all pages in the website. However, if we do this too early after the establishment of our website, we could get too many inbound links from a website. This is a safe thing to do, if our website is found to be useful by a relevant website, months or years after the establishment of our website. (Risk level: 3)

Writing controversial subjects

It is clear that we need to write interesting topics on specific subject to obtain quality links. There are a number of subjects that we need to avoid. Articles that are highly critical to government and organizations could cause disputes. It is possible to get many links by writing controversial content, but there’s no guarantee that we will get long-term benefits. Google may or may not consider this method as a valid thing to do. If our content is controversial enough, it is possible that we will get rank penalty, although we may not be banned. Other than gaining links, it is not really a good practice to create dispute with a group of people that we may offend with our content. (Risk level: 4)

Keyword rich anchor-text

Anchor text is an essential factor to determine the relevance of inbound links. However, anchor text can be written unnaturally long. It may contain many of our primary and secondary keywords that don’t form a comprehensible sentence. This is a risky thing to do if our inbound links are too rich in relevant keywords. Anchor text should contain one primary and one secondary keyword. In fact, it is a good idea to have some links with only “Read Here” as the anchor text. Search engines could easily find out if we want to manipulate the anchor text. (Risk level: 5).

These methods can be safe or unsafe, depending on how we use them. We need to use some common sense to determine whether a link building method is worth the benefit.