Those amongst us that have been doing SEO for a long time will remember the days of getting your website listed in as many directories as possible to increase positions. However, that has not been a viable option for a long time and directory links are of extremely little value now; yet we still see so many individuals and companies offering directory submissions, directory submission software and other equally spammy services.
I’m not saying all directory submissions are bad, getting your website listed in top directories such as DMOZ, Best of the Web and Free Index and a few others are worth considering. They do have some editorial discretion, don’t let you put whatever you like as the title/description and do not just list every website; they are also used by visitors and may bring in some referral traffic rather than just being a back link for your website. However, getting your website listed in every “SEO Friendly Directory” out there is just going to make you a potential target of the Google Penguin Update and won’t do you any favours. Matt Cutts himself said paid directories are treated similar to paid links and other link schemes, he goes into more detail in this video:
Your backlink portfolio is an open book to Google, it’s clear as day if you are trying to “cheat” your way to the top and they will notice.
You should focus your efforts on producing great content, making a user friendly website and making a website worth sharing and talking about… these will bring your website natural links, mentions on social media websites and get your website noticed by both people and Google, for all the right reasons.