While you can hire someone to handle your SEO work, you can easily learn how to do it on your own, too. Many resources are available to help you with learning SEO strategies. These resources can be found on http://shaneperry.co/ as well as in some good books.
Instead of a link exchange, think about using an article exchange in order to increase your rank in search engines. When you do article exchanges, you have to post an article from a different website owner while crediting them with you link. Then they can do that for you on an article that you wrote.