After the Florida update I poked around quite a bit trying to identify why some sites didn't drop out of top rankings and I ran across a few sites that put an outbound link at the bottom of every page on their site to a related company based in a different part of the world. Checking the other companies website they had done the same thing back to the other site.
It seems like it might be a good idea? Both sites are PR5 and have good content. They are not direct competitors, but provide the same services, just one in USA and one in UK.
What do you think...should I do this with my site?
Well, jumping to conclusions after a little bit of lurking around is not smart. After florida, it's been particularly hard to generalize things, even if you have observed 100s of sites. The thing is- something that works for one, may not work for the others. So, nothing can be said for sure.
However, backlinks still play a big role in rankings, but may be it's more to do with how G treats certain backlinks. We've seen that some sites rock high at the serps by the sheer power of backlinks and link text, while others are 'penalized' for the same.
The next big thing in Google is supposed to be the 'Context-sensitive linking', or, something known as 'Theming'. Some maintain that even PageRank would be context sensitive in the near future. So, my take on this is that one should garner as many backlinks as possible, but from related and relevant sites. Google HAS NOT STARTED IT YET, but that's the possibility.