UPDATE FOR 2013 – Be wary of extremely low coast article marketing services, article submissions services & free press releases. In todays SEO, you do not want your article links duplicated across only low quality domains – and that is where most of these type of articles end up. Use sparingly and with caution.
2009 – The answer is yes, supremely well in terms of promoting your site rather than improving your website ranking in Google. The question is, where you syndicate your articles to, and in turn, which news and press outlets pick those articles up for maximum exposure, and also if those articles on the submission site have a chance of ranking themselves.
I avoid article submission sites these days, although they can still be useful. The problem is the competition is so intense in these places, why bother if you can cut them out altogether?
The first place for your articles is your own blog, next, it’s getting those article noticed via social media sites and your articles syndicated to other sites. I’ve done that a lot in the past on this blog.
I don’t do mass article spinning, each article is unique. I want the actual article to rank and the links to my client website to count for something, every time, so I minimise duplicate content issues by rewriting everything. I prefer to do HOW TO articles, or Press releases that point out USEFUL CONTENT on a particular site. I also limit the number of articles on one PR release site before I move on to another to maximise ranking ability for individual articles.
One thing to note about article syndication is your capturing traffic for another site, which does it’s best to nick the attention of your hard earned visitor to it’s own content. So 500 people might read your article and only 10 people might actually click through to your website. If you’re seeking attention and mind share, that might be useful for people to be reading your content, but the point of the article and the call to action need to be thought out extremely carefully.
In summary, I’d rather create articles than chase directory linkbuilding strategies.