Reciprocal links have always been one of the easiest ways to start link building, and as such Google has tried to discount their impact. Google now discounts all reciprocal links. The algorithm has been altered to identify the exchange of links by two parties for the purpose of increasing their number of links.
Reciprocal linking effectively short-circuited Google’s original intention with the algorithm. Quality content should attract links. The exchange of reciprocal links is nothing more than a mutual agreement with the goal of promoting your own. Google doesn’t particularly like this (see Link Schemes).
Some even claim that Google is now able to identify three-way linking schemes (i.e. example.com links to mysite.com, and I then link mysite.com to domain.org, who links back to example.com). Whether this is true or not is hard to say.
One thing is for certain though: inbound linking strategies should NOT be centered around reciprocal linking. This manufactured form of link creation is not well-received and is ultimately a waste of time. Instead, focus on creating unique, high-quality content in a given niche and then promoting it via social media and online advertising.