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A thought occurred to me regarding the reciprocal links I have set up with other websites. How do I know whether there is actually a link on their home page to the page on which they say my link is located. At present I ask for the url of the page on which they have put my link and I check that my link is there. But what if there is no link from their home page to this page? Will it still show up as a back link if there is no such link from the home page? I use software to monitor my links but I would like to check each link as I set it up and physically check myself that there is a link from their home page.
If you set up a specific agreement that the links page will be one link off of the home page, then you ought to be able to view the source of the home page, and look for 'links.htm' (or whatever the name of the page your link is on), and verify that there's a proper href link on the page.
If what you mean is that the links page is actually reachable from the home page (possibly with several pages in between), then why not check to see if Google has a snapshot of it in their index. If they do, then it's linked from somewhere, and you're getting credit (no matter how small) for the link.
If you see there's no cache, then on the chance that it's a brand new page, you could make a note to check back in a week or two, and if it's still not there, then drop the recip.
How do I know whether there is actually a link on their home page to the page on which they say my link is located.
Without reciprocal link checking software that spiders from the home page of your link partner, there is no easy and timely way to know if there is navigation from the home page to the page where the link has been placed. Of course you can check it manually but not many folks have time for such housekeeping.
If you google "reciprocal link checking" or "reciprocal links", you will find dozens of softwares and services that provide link checking products.