For quite some time, Google has suggested that a good way to increase your ranking in the Google index was to get yourself listed in a few reputable directories. Of course, much like any other thing that Google admits might help, directories became the go to place to get yourself some nice links. And an industry was born.
Now, Google has removed that suggestion from their webmaster help guide. Does that mean the end of the directory industry? I doubt it. In fact, my guess would be that it doesn’t change much of anything. Google probably hasn’t given much weight to most directories for quite some time and is finally letting us know about it.
Personally, I don’t use many directories when I start a new website. I find the majority of them to be repositories for spam sites and don’t want to associate my sites with them. Instead, there are plenty of other ways to go about getting links like blogroll exchanges, paid links (don’t pretend you don’t.), and a variety of other programs and strategies that can attain you plenty of quality links in a short amount of time.
Plenty of links will do you no good if you don’t have plenty of content too. You’ll still get some traffic, but having the content can mean the difference between a visitor that shows up and a visitor that shows up and stays. Which would you rather have? If I were you (I’m not, but if I were), I would spend about 75% of my time on content and the rest on link and traffic building practices.