If you are at all involved in promoting a site on the internet, especially using links, you will more than likely have come across this claim. The reasoning behind it is simple; search engines no longer count reciprocal links towards your sites’ search engine rankings, therefore a reciprocal link will not increase its’ ranking, and is thus worthless.
Completely true – up to the worthless bit. Reciprocal links won’t boost your search engine rankings, but anyone who claims that makes them worthless is missing the point. The objective when promoting your site is not boosting your rankings, but increasing traffic. Higher rankings do result in increased traffic, but that assumes that the only traffic a link will create is that from the search engine. A good reciprocal link to a non-competing but relevant site has a good chance of creating quality traffic in itself. The traffic may even be of a higher quality than the search engine traffic, because it’s more likely that the visitor who clicks on your link is looking specifically for your product or service.
This doesn’t mean you should just build reciprocal links with every site that will have you of course. Look for sites relevan to yours, that don’t compete with it. For example, a web designer could look for web hosting firms and SEO firms, as a user of one of those services is very likely to use the others too.