Lessons of the linking landscape
There’s a saying among SEOs that all links are not created equal.
But it really depends on which search engine is looking at it.
Google has a lead on search market share and relevance is a factor. Some claim it's a little finicky and efforts are best steered at Yahoo/MSN. A matter of personal tastes really, but the Google rewards your efforts with more traffic than probably the other big 2 could offer - combined.
Besides the neighborhood, relevance, on-page acquaintances you share, and actual on-page location, there is also the consideration of whether the link is perceived (by G) as a "text link" or more of a link contained within the body copy, creating the appearance of being part of the copy versus paid placement. There is also the question of how many links are on the page as well. Each one sapping a little more link juice. So if you're on a page with only about 10 outbound links, it stands to reason this carries more weight than a page with 50+ outbound links.
So how does one drive traffic to a site? It starts with the "enviable" task of link building.
There are all kinds of link types. According to stuntdubl, there are 12 link types. But there is also a need to know some of the various link building tactics. Aaron Wall and Andy Hagans compiled one of the best posts this year with 101 Ways to Build Link Popularity in 2006.
You can forget the reciprocal link route. Rarely is it worth the time. You'd be far better off focussing on developing some quality content. Or link bait!