Most experts agree that the single most important contributing factor in achieving a high search engine ranking is link popularity. Inbound links to your site will raise its importance to search engines. Search engines take the view that if others link to your site or a specific page, then that web page must have something to offer other users.
However just getting thousands of random inbound links is not the answer. It is not simply the number of inbound links to your site but the quality of those links. High quality links come from respected web sites, or web sites which are known for a particular topic, or where the link sits on a page which is discussing a relevant topic. In addition, the link itself is important. An “On-topic” link will contain your keywords e.g. Ford Focus rather than www.ford.co.uk
A good way to generate inbound links is via link exchange with other sites. This is also called reciprocal link exchange. The secret to this form of search engine optimisation is making the process of linking to your site as easy as possible. This may even mean getting the other site administrator to do all the work.
For osCommerce there is an advance contribution for handling a full reciprocal link exchange program. An example of this can be seen on our web site. This contribution allows other site owners to submit their web address (URL) and place your link on their site. So when you receive the link exchange request, all you have to do is check they have placed your link on their site (there is a button for that) and approve or disapprove their request. If approved, their link goes 'live' in a specific category on your links pages.
The need to approve each link exchange request means that you can select on topic sites and if you wish decline others.