Submitting to free article directories is one of the most popular and successful ways to acquire inbound links and improve website traffic stats. Not only that, but you also improve PageRank by building high quality inbound links naturally.
Building inbound links naturally is more important than it ever has been after Google's latest round of updates (Penguin and Panda). Most all article directories were penalized for publishing tons of questionable content ranging from duplicate to outright spam. The ending result was that the article directories that were once high PageRank sites, took a hit.
Even with all the negativity, submitting to free article directories is the best way to build links naturally and not risk being penalized by the search engines.
Article Distribution Service
At one point in time, submitting to an article distribution service was a great way to create thousands of inbound links at once. That has all changed, submitting articles to an article distribution service is no longer an acceptable practice in the eyes of the search engines.
The latest search engine updates make utilizing an article distribution service ineffective and rightfully so, you are just spamming out duplicate content. Maybe you will see a top ten search ranking for a small span of time, but this will be very short lived. It won't take Google long to figure out your article appears on thousands of article directories that accept spam. Google is not so tolerant of these manipulation practices.
I have listed some of the best free article directories below. Each allow "dofollow" links in the resource box, have an excellent PageRank and they do not mass distribute your article to other directories. It's the best way to build inbound links naturally.
Free Article Directories
EZineArticles.com is not an auto approve article directory. EZineArticles is one of the top article directories for many reasons and one of those being they take quality control seriously.
GoArticles.com has been around a long time so they are well established and one of the top free article directories.
DigitalDivideNetwork.org features articles on a variety of subjects to earn exposure for your writing abilities as well as a natural inbound link to your site.
Becoming a partner of Article Alley means that you have an opportunity to share in their revenue. Any traffic you send to their site from yours, if profits are involved you get 30%. Not only that but as long as you partner with them, Article Alley will promote your site as a source of knowledgeable information.
Why DoFollow links Are Important
To summarize, an article distribution service can actually hurt you more than it can help you. Contributing articles to free article directories allows you to garner backlinks to your website naturally without raising red flags at the search engines.