Rather than swapping links (which should always be your very last strategy), consider some of your alternative options for acquiring incoming links. Probably the best place to start is by submitting your site to web directories. Here’s a list of links to the most important general-topic web directories:
Some of them are free and some charge a fee which, when considering the value of your time, might be worth it to get a new site’s foot in the link-popularity door. Yahoo, LookSmart, and Joe Ant are popular directory sites that fit this description of directory sites that charge but may very well be worth the fee in exchange for the trusted inbound link.
To add your site, look around on the main page of each of these directories for a link that says something like Add URL, Suggest URL, Add Your Site, or Suggest a Site. Follow that link to get details about exactly how to add your site to their directory.
By the way, to avoid unnecessary delays in getting listed, be sure to submit your site to the proper category within each directory. Submitting your site to the wrong category can result in a ridiculously long delay or simply not getting listed at all. Remember that the directory editors receive an enormous number of site submissions. So, save yourself some grief by carefully considering exactly which category your site belongs in before submitting.
You should review the DMOZ Submit FAQ at: http://dmoz.org/help/submit.html
Starting out, it’s time and cost effective to focus on getting into the major directories listed above. Each one that links to you substantiates your site in the eyes of the engines. You get an incoming link from a trusted site and another new source of targeted traffic. However, you need to know that after you get into a few of the major directories the relevancy boost from being listed in general directories drops off pretty fast.
By the way, when getting listed in topic-specific directories, be sure they provide a direct, static link to your site. In other words, you do not want a dynamic link – one that is processed or created on-the-fly by some software the directory has running on their server. This is not a concern with the major directories as they all tend to use static links. However, many smaller directories like to create their links dynamically. Although this will add to your traffic count, it does nothing to help your search engine ranking efforts. That’s because engines fail to see the connection between the dynamic link and your site’s actual URL.