Most website developers are now spending a lot of time and often money to appeal to Search Engines. Many pay $199.00 review fee that is optional now at Yahoo!, or employ specialists to tweak and tune their metatags, keywords and titles. Search Engines are certainly still vital to success of your site, but trading reciprocal links with other sites may now be of increased importance as intenet grows by something like a million sites a day.
The designers of newly popular Search Engine "Google", which gets its raw search data from "The Open Directory Project" have designed a system where "rank" of your site when called up by a search is now determined by its link relationships and also by how many times your site is mentioned or referred to on other sites. To put it simply, Google wants to know that your site is linked to many sites whether they are directories, competitors sites, Message Boards or whatever
The logic of this is that if your site is worth linking to or referring to it must be of interest. Not only does Google's system rank how many times your site is mentioned in link pages, but it also checks to see how "linked" sites that carry your reciprocal link are. Sound complicated? It is, but what searcher gets is a better shot at finding what he or she wants precisely and quickly.
There are some oddities to Google system. If you type phrase "more evil than devil" into Google and then hit "I'm feeling lucky" option (a button that brings you most likely page Google can find) you get, believe it or not, homepage of Microsoft Corporation. Why is this? Because so many pages on net have referred to what they perceive as evil side of Microsoft. Thats a powerful, but unintended effect of all links and discussion boards out there on net.
But, back to your site, lets talk about how you can use links to your advantage. Do you maintain reciprocal links on your page? Perhaps to client's pages, supplier's pages, or pages that would be of interest to your visitors? I would advise you to create and or expand such a page. Then, send an e-mail to each of sites you have linked to, mention that you have given them a link, and ask that they post one for you in return. Many sites will return favor. Sites that may charge for banner advertising will give you a link for free.