It is widely accepted that throwing out reciprocal links to any old website is not the best choice for quality internet marketing; however link exchange when done correctly will drive QUALITY web traffic and support the search engines, which aids in the overall ranking.
The tip to take away is choosing carefully! Link to a website that is in a so called bad neighborhood and you run the risk of damaging your web brand! Exchange a link with a website that exchanges with countless other websites and you loose the value of the link exchange; it will do more harm than good.
Creating a support network around your website is the key, whether that be reciprocal or one way, the point is receiving quality traffic is what we are all after!
During the early days of setting up a website, attracting quality web links can be tricky.
When a web master gives you a link, they actually give you some of their precious link juice. Something that they have worked hard to achieve!
With the above in mind, even reciprocal linking can be a challenge, for example what benefit does a website with a Google rank of five receive by exchanging a link with a one?
Swapping links with selected websites when done right is a bonus. Even if you exchange with a website that also has a zero page rank. Providing the website in question offers value and wins over your trust, the likely hood is their rank will creep up, before you know it the long term benefit outweighs the short.
When apply for link exchange, keep it personal and do your research, that is know why you are linking to a particular website. Before you ask for a link as a good will gestures add their link with some text about their website and the benefits that their website offers to your community, after which simply contact the web master in question explaining that you have put a link on your web pages kindly ask them to reciprocate listing the benefits.
Final note, check your links on a regular basis and ensure that all your links are active. It does not look good your visitors if your links don't work, further the search engines spiders will also be made aware when you have inactive links. Never a good thing! Happy linking!