Only with Directory submissions you can't get ranking..........though directory submissions are still useful
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Directories are very helpful for improving the search engines ranking. It helps to increase the quality backlinks and traffics for your website. It helps to increase the page rank of your website too. It is initial technique of off page seo for any fresh website.
I think the days of gaming the system died with Panda/Penguin.
In late 2012 a fair amount of internet marketers left the business, because they depended to largely on Google. It's google's traffic, not yours. They can give and they can take away.
A longer term sustainable model relies on finding your customers wherever they are at - regardless of google. The google traffic will follow.
So how does this apply to directories? If your customers are SERIOUSLY finding you in directories (which I doubt) then it is probably worth your time. If your customers are SERIOUSLY finding you through article marketing then great (which I doubt).
If not, then where are your customers. Find them. Find where the hangout. In a forum maybe? Maybe a FB group? Different online communities? and demonstrate your value. People (real breathing people) will follow you. And so will google.