What is 'Reciprocal Linking'?
A reciprocal link exchange is the exchange of hyper-links from one website to another, preferrably with similar, or complementary, content.
What is meant by 'Page Rank' or 'PR'? What are 'good' Link Exchanges?
'Page Rank', also known as 'PR', is the official Google ranking system for rating web pages. It is a very complex algorithm that is used to figure out a website's value. This algorithm was developed in 1998 by the Google founders, Larry Page and (later on) Sergey Brin at Stanford University in Stanford, CA. It was named after Larry Page, which is why it's called 'Page Rank'.
Page rank uses the unique nature of the web and by using it's vast link structure as an indicator of each page's individual 'value', sort of like popularity. The more links that lead to a web page, the higher the PR - or the more popular (or important) it is. High page rank is associated with high-quality websites.
When you exchange links with another site that has similar or complementary content, you have a better chance of increasing traffic to your own website, which (in-turn) has a higher potential for increased sales from your website. Good link exchanges will greatly increase your page rank and your potential earning ability. An example of a good link exchange would be when a company that sells paintings exchanges links with a company that manufactures painting-related items - such as, picture frames or painting supplies. This would be considered a 'good' link exchange.
In contrast, if you exchange links with non-complementary websites or make 'bad' link exchanges, it can actually harm your page rank, such as when you link to a bunch of junk websites just so you have links. This will make your website go down in the searches. This is what is known as a 'link farming'. These 'link farms' are companies that promise to link to your website with hundreds of links, sometimes for a 'low price' or maybe even for the promise of getting you higher page rank (some offer you 50 links to your website if you give them just one link). Sometimes, they will give you many links in a blog with automated content and useless information or no relevant information at all, etc. When this happens, your website is discredited of any 'authority' that it has attained and your website is penalized with negative page rank instead of gaining page rank. Do not use unscrupulous companies to help 'promote' your website!
Why else would websites link to other websites?
For new websites, linking is a way to help a site get 'found' by the search engines. Links that point to a new website help it to get indexed in the search engines much quicker and help it to start being ranked amongst the competition.
Linking is, also, an inexpensive and easy way to increase traffic to a website, which, as we said previously, getting quality backlinks to your website is crucial to the page rank and the growth of your website - and your business. All incoming traffic to your website can lead to potential sales.
Is linking worth the time?
Getting quality links can be a tedious and time-consuming job but they are an absolute necessity. Without them, your website will not gain authority in the search engines and your website will not be as easily found.
We suggest submitting your link to high quality directories. There are many out there. One, in particular, that we highly suggest submitting your link to is: TheHumanEditedLinkDirectory.org. It is a human-edited directory that does not expect payment for listing your website.