It seems over the past 6 months that the once powerful boost of major directories has become minimal at best.
I'm wondering if the recent surge in paid directories may have caused Google to place less value on these. Honestly, most paid directories are nothing more than a paid link. No different than what Google has preached against.
I've also noticed many directory listings not showing up in backlinks of sites. These directories have one thing in common - they take money. Wondering if anyone else has seen this trend.
I haven't personally noticed it, but what you describe makes sense. Paid links should be regarded with a grain of salt, or it creates a market for paid links, and that's bad for the Internet in general. Of course, there was a thread a while back in the Google forum where people were saying that paid links were a good thing and that webmasters should pursue them. But that's a strange mindset, if you ask me.
Seems to me there are two kinds of paid links. Those that are used with the intent of increasing organic rankings, and those that are used to generate quality traffic.
A niche directory that someone else has worked hard on to get good organic listings (or paid listings for that matter) may well be a bargain for someone that is looking for a boost in qualified traffic.
G may or may not value the links in a directory, but that seems like the wrong question to be asking. Is the directory giving you traffic?
It seems that directories are giving off a lot less traffic or even PR impact than they used to. The saddest thing was to see the demise of Zeal - I got tons of free MSN traffic from my listings there...:( Would love to hear of some other free directory that could deliver that kind of traffic! Maybe the day of the directories has come & gone.
I hope directories don't go by the wayside, they are by far the best source to find quality, similar sites in a given catergory. Even if you do pay, at least there is 'normally' a human who checks it out first.