Lyndon Antcliff has started an interesting (and slightly heated) discussion about how social voting beats directories for link building. In my opinion there are still some good arguments for submitting to quality directories, but I totally agree that linkbaiting is the way to go and if successful the benefits are far greater than submitting to directories. It’s also far more enjoyable to watch how many people vote or link to your content then it is submitting to directories for hours, so that helps! :)
Linkbaiting may not suit everyone however as it requires a certain degree of creativity and understanding about how the social media systems work and how to manipulate what the audience likes to see, whereas anyone can submit to a directory. I wouldn’t completely disregard submitting to directories as a link building technique just yet and probably wouldn’t go as far to say directories are dead, but perhaps Google’s recent efforts to find paid links could suggest it is dying a slow death! It’s unclear about how Google’s algorithm values paid directories, but I think it’s fair to say that if you are paying for a listing in a directory which will accept anyone, the value will be much lower than that of a listing in a trusted and more selective directory such as Business.com or the Yahoo Directory.
Overall I would suggest gaining a small number of paid listings from quality directories and then concentrating on developing the content of your website, promoting this within the social media websites. The potential gain of incoming links from social media optimisation is much higher, a great piece of content can be rewarded with hundreds of natural, relevant one-way links which would be pretty much impossible to gain using any other method, plus there are tons of social media sites out there now where it’s possible to promote most topics. If it fails the chances are you’ll learn something and if it’s successful you’ll have a nice traffic boost and hopefully a large number of new inbound links to show for your efforts, so why not give it go?