SEOs keep discussing the effectiveness of old traditional techniques like reciprocal links and directory submission. Naturally, they cannot so easily be forgiven because they remain the easiest free way to gain backlinks with the keyword-targeted anchor text. I myself turned to the topic several times and got a heated discussion in response.
However what is wrong about discussing the real effectiveness of the traditional SEO techniques is that we often forget about time factor. With most of these techniques the minor effect they might have fades compared to the amount of time you have to spend on them.
By spending your time wisely, you can both achieve similar (and higher) effectiveness and accomplish other no less useful tasks. Here are a couple of examples.
Stop trying to figure out if reciprocal linking can still be helpful. Searching for potential link partners and sending out “link exchange” requests is time consuming (even if effective). Build relationships instead. Link out generously, comment, help promote someone else’s content and interact, and you will see both one-way and reciprocal links coming on their own.
Stop trying to understand how Google treats directories. They are numerous now – submitting to as many as you can takes plenty of time and effort (or money). Trying to sort out only most trusted and authority ones will take even more time. Apart from the dubious SEO value, directories won’t give you any other benefit: either visitors, or link bait. If you instead focus on social bookmarking directories, you have huge chances to achieve (deep) links from a directory, visitors and natural links from people mentioning you.
Stop trying to decide if submitting to search engines (yeah, many people are still trying to) can speed up your site indexing. Focus on your content and on-site SEO instead. A valuable product will soon get found and ranked.