I would assume, as long as the directory listing doesn't involve the link exchange commitment, you should be doing fine. It can be either no-benefit or some benefit. Most of the sites I have worked on, initially rank for the longtails thanks to directory listings.
As far as the backlink profile being skewed for excessive directory links, again I would assume after a certain threshold, might stop passing benefit.
Thanks for your reply. Thats the big question: Is it just no-benefit or will it (after the last update) become bad?
High-End directories, yes...Low-End directories, no, unless on-topic. Would your visitors come from such directories? If no, pass, your better off finding quality "on-topic" links regardless of PR! Relevancy, not green bar! Google loves you!
Agree with MLHmptn... make absolutely sure that these are *quality*, relevant directories. Though in the end, I probably would stay on the safe side & not do it. Links in the content area of sites are much more valuable, so I spend my time on those instead. We've been cleaning up our back link profile recently and there have been some directory links that have been absolutely impossible to get removed. So just keep in mind that the link may be there forever.. if you don't have a problem with that...go for it!
Mass cheap directory submissions used to rock but Google has finally put an end to it. You still need to find good niche directories and high quality directories. I have even seen in a few cases where mass directory submissions has hurt ranking for short periods of time. I do a lot of testing and have a site that was set up and the only links were directory submissions. It got a pr2 and was ranking for some small terms but last week it does not rank like it did before. I have other sites that had directory submissions that have fallen a few places and some have fallen back a few pages.
Those were good times and will be missed.
[edited by: ogletree at 1:49 pm (utc) on Aug. 4, 2009]
There are sectors where specialist directories dominate the SERPS and scoop up most of the search traffic before passing the visitors on. Outside those sectors I wouldn't bother.
Absolutely submit to directories! Just make sure the directories are related to your site. Try to avoid general directories that accept anyone. Do a search for "Keyword directory" with keyword being "widgets" or your main keyword.
I have a site ranking well, for the last 3 weeks for a important widget KW. Most of the links are from directories...
Search WebmasterWorld, there are countless threads over the years of the pros and cons of directory submissions.
I used to have fun with the SEO friendly directories too, now avoid them.
For maps/local search (at least in the UK) there are core directories that are pretty much essential at the moment.
General Rules I follow:
If the site uses a directory template and is not a niche directory avoid. If it is a niche be careful.
If they go on about SEO benefits or PR avoid.
If they offer sitewide featured links or footer links, avoid.
If they offer anchor text or a link only for cash, be careful.
If they are not niche / cover the whole world, be careful.
If you can see that the admin is poor or non-existent (by that I mean irrelevant links, poor English), avoid. Having said that, some important sites are Wikis - but you'll be able to spot those a mile off.
If they are on any SEO directory lists, be careful.