Reciprocal Links - How important are they In my opinion reciprocal links are second only to search engines as a way to get traffic to ones site.
Reciprocal links are links with other sites, which are generally related to theme of your website. The concept is simple you link to site, and that sites webmaster returns favour and links back to your site. For some reason or another you always receive a lot more traffic from sites, then you give out.
This method of traffic building is very important and its free, its simply a matter of contacting right webmasters and getting right links. However a full blown 'link-hunt' can be time consuming but benefits it can bring are huge. Among them are:
Highly targeted visitors
Better search engine rankings
The visitors that come from related websites are highly targeted and you have a much better chance of selling them your product or service, because they have come to your site through a link on a related website you know they are interested in your sites theme, otherwise they wouldn't be on a site that is linking to you and furthermore they definitely wouldn't click through if they weren't interested. So these are prime prospects for your product or service and best of all you don't have to pay for a single one.
Also it is worth telling you that it is very unlikely that once a link is up on someone's site that it will be taken down. This means that once a link is up, chances are it will be sending you free visitors for its lifetime, free visitors = free sales = more profit.
Reciprocal linking is my personal favorite form of marketing, even though a good Search Engine campaign will bring in much more traffic than any number of links can. I say this because it's ideal for sites just starting out as you can see visitors (AND SALES) coming in within days of contacting webmasters for links. Especially if you can secure any high traffic links.
Also apart from getting visitors from linking site itself, more recently some major search engines are using number of links to a site as an important factor in establishing a sites relevancy. The idea behind this is that more links a site has to more valuable it must be. Also this method of using number of links as a relevancy factor helps search engines defeat gateway/doorway pages. Why would anyone link to 'bare-bones' keyword filled doorway page? - Simple answer - they wouldn't. And search engines know this.