I have not engaged in reciprocal link exchanges for over 6 months now. My links directory has about 1000 on topic links. How many links is enough to create a good user experience and not look like i am engaging in link exchanges just to boost my rankings?
After doing link exchanges for over 3 years i am tired and fed up with it. I am constantly bombarded with at least 100 link exchange requests ever day. I dont have an automated system, so any link I included has to be done by hand. Now I get emails from other webmasters who want to change their anchor text or to point their old link to a new domain.
How many link exchanges is enough? Am i meant to continue forever getting more and more links just so I keep a edge on other sites competng with me? I already have enough links pointing to my sites to sustain my position.
That sounds horrendous. You should hire a programmer and invest in some automation. When you think about the time you spend with links versus the cost of building the directory, well worth it.
As far as links being enough? I think not if: 1) your competetors are right on your heals or 2) Google impliments some of their latest techniques (as outlined in there patents) which seem to require a steady flow of *new* links.