Analog photonic link (APL) has been considered to be a promising technique due to the low insertion loss, broad bandwidth and immunity to electromagnetic interference. It is essential for many microwave systems, such as avionics, modern electronic warfare, and wireless communication systems. However, polarization effect, chromatic dispersion (CD), fiber Kerr effect and RF nonlinearity are four main problems in APL. All of them degrade the performance of the link. Therefore, APL needs to be optimized according to the different requirements in various applications. In this paper, we firstly establish a propagation model and provide the general expressions for the analog signal in photonic link based on coupled-mode theory and the small-signal analysis. Such model can describe the interaction of polarization effect, CD and nonlinearity. We also investigate the noise figure (NF) and spurious-free dynamic range (SFDR) in dispersive nonlinear link based on the proposed model. Subsequently, we review and introduce different compensation schemes for these impairments, such as CD compensation based on double sideband (DSB) modulation, and simultaneous compensation for CD and nonlinearity by employing a phase modulator (PM). After compensations, the SFDR of the link can be improved greatly. In addition, recent experimental results show that APL might be a supporting technique for the 4G or higher speed optical-wireless communication systems in near future.