Asking another webmaster
for a reciprocal link is standard practice on the Internet. Webmasters
have been asking other webmasters for reciprocal links since the
beginnings of the Internet. The very nature of the web is linking
websites to one another. Reciprocal links do increase your search engine
positioning if used properly. Tightly-themed link directories get high
ratings from search engine robots, but only if they are true resources
of organized knowledge.
Search engines are getting very smart in their
query result rankings. Manual link exchange does take more time, but
it's worth 10 fold more than an automatic link exchange service. Dead
links on your site or exchanging links with webmasters who are not
reciprocating properly is of no value to you.