How to create the perfect web directory list? (step-by-step procedure)

So, you want to add your web site into web directories. You can Google to find quite a few lists by searching for
[web directories list],
but soon you will discover that some of those web directories are not top quality.

How to filter the list? This is my answer to this question.

Note: I start with the assumption that you have more than one client, and you want to have a good web directory list to serve all of your clients.


1. First of all, create a very large web directories list;

How will you do that? For a Romanian web directories list, search:
[lista directoare];
For an English list:
[web directories list];

I found 10 (possibly) good lists of web directories in Romanian, both hosted in Romania and in Moldavia: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

In English I found these 10 lists to be just fine: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

How to get the links?
a. I find using Opera browser very helpful; just launch Opera, open a web directory, go to Tools Menu => Links; it will show you all of the links in a page, which you can easily Copy & Paste (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V); details;
b. Another option is using Firefox browser; if you have the links in a table, and you want to select a column, just keep CTRL key pressed, while selecting the items in the column; then Copy & Paste (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V) in the desired application; details;
c. (a rather advanced technique) Sometimes you may find it useful to transfer the list of links in order to be properly showed in Opera; to do this, select the links in Firefox, create a new blog post in a WordPress blog, and create a draft blog post with the links; open the draft blog post in Opera, and use the procedure at point a.; it should properly display the links now;

You should put all of the links in an Excel file;

2. Format the links

The very next step is to format the links; to do this, Copy the links, Paste them into a Notepad text file, select the links, Copy them again, and Paste into Microsoft Word; select all text (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+A); go to Format => Change Case in versions of Microsoft Office older than 2007; for Office 2007 and more recent, see this blog post; the alternative is to just press Shift+F3 until you will get the desired result (press repeatedly); you could have changed case directly from Microsoft Excel, but I preferred Microsoft Word solution, it’s a bit simpler;
Now select all the text in Microsoft Word (keyboard shortcut: Ctrl+A), Copy, Paste in Notepad, select all, Copy again, Paste in a new worksheet in Microsoft Excel;
Now you should have a list of links without capitals, and no formatting;
It’s best to make a back-up copy of the current .xls file prior to continuing;

3. Remove duplicates

You may think now that I’ll just suggest selecting the text and do a „Remove duplicates” option; the problem with this solution is that it sees directories such as:
as different one, and this is false; the solution would thus be stripping all the text after .com and only then do a remove duplicates; how to do this?
a. Select the column with all the links from step 2;
b. Copy & Paste into Notepad; select all, Copy, Paste in a Microsoft Word document; the alternative would be to Paste without formatting in Microsoft Word, but I think that the current solution is simpler;
c. In Microsoft Word do the following steps: do a Search & Replace command (Ctrl+H is the keyboard shortcut); Replace „https://” (no quotes) with nothing; replace all, in all document; then replace „http://” with nothing; replace all, in all document; then replace „/” with „^t”; leave the replace window; select all text;
d. Copy & Paste into Notepad; select all;
e. Copy; go to Microsoft Excel; Paste the contents from the Clipboard into a column to the right; delete the columns which are unnecessary; for example, out of these: directory submit.php
you should only keep the first two columns:
If done properly, now you should have something similar to this (this is my actual list I’ve done in the research).
Now and only now sort the directories based on the second column, and filter the results with Remove Duplicates from the second column; details for Microsoft Excel 2003; details for Microsoft Excel 2007;
Do a back-up copy of the file;

4. Open the directories

What you should now is test which of the web directories do open; you have two options for doing this:
a. In Firefox you should install Tab Mix Plus add-on; then, after restart, go to Tools => Tab Mix Plus Options => Menu => Main Context Menu => check „Open Links in New Tabs”;
Copy the links in the first column in Excel, Paste it in an email you send yourself in a webmail service (for example, Gmail); open the mail; select 20-30 links at once, right click => Open Links in New Tabs; now you should check each tab (see below); repeat opening tabs until you go through the whole list;
b. In Opera Copy the links in the first column in Excel, Paste it in an email you send yourself in a webmail service (for example, Gmail); open the mail (if you use Gmail, then open the email and select Print all; do not print, just open the window); go to Tools => Links, select 20-30 links at once, and open them in tabs; now you should check each tab (see below); repeat opening tabs until you go through the whole list;

What to check each tab for?
a. Check if the site opens (if you get some error, then you should delete the corresponding row in Excel);
b. Check if the site is a web directory anymore (a lot of web directories are bought for their link value and transformed into regular web site; if this is the case, then you should delete the corresponding row in Excel);

The alternative to deleting rows in Excel is marking a row with an X and at the end of the operation you should sort the column and delete the rows marked with an X;

Back-up your Excel file and save;

5. First Google search

You should first set some bad keywords for a web directory; so, for example, Google suggests these query:
[ viagra OR casino OR porn OR ringtones]

A much larger list can be found here.

Move the second column in Excel a bit to the right;
In the space between the first and the second column, add

Now go to the right of the last column and fill in the column with this data:

You should now have a list similar to this. (sorry, from this point I will only show a sample of my files)

Select the last three columns, Copy, Paste in a Notepad, Select All, Copy, Paste in Microsoft Word, Search & Replace (Ctrl+H), Replace „^t” with nothing, all occurrences in all text, select all, Copy, Paste in Notepad, Select All, Copy, Paste in a web mail application and, using the procedure described at point 4, open a few links in tabs;

At this point I have to warn you: Google doesn’t appreciate a lot of tabs being opened which put a lot of pressure on his servers; I’ve heard some rumors that you could first delete the cookies from Google, and then block all cookies from whatever site, open 20 tabs with Google searches, change your IP with some way or another (reconnecting to the Internet works just fine for some types of Internet connections), and open again 20 tabs; but this is all bad for Google servers and I’m not advising you to do so;

Now you will get an idea on how much spammy words are in the web directories; use your best judgment to decide which directories you want on a list and which you don’t; for example, if there is just one occurrence of a word „casino” in a web directory, it may be a good directory, because it may be a mistake; on the other hand, if Google shows you that there are 5 pages of results with spammy words, you might as well remove the web directory from your list; use your judgment to decide what your standard is, between those two extremes; my personal settings is this: if a web directory has more than one page of results displayed with spammy words, then I will remove it from my lists;

Do this for all the web directories; it may take some time, but you only do a check-up once, right?

Back-up your data;

6. Second Google search

Now we should check how many pages Google has indexed from a specific web directory; why is this relevant? Let’s say a web directory only has 5 pages indexed; this could mean:
a. The web directory is really at its beginnings, really has 5 pages, and has a few links; it may have less than 500 links on it, and only use 5 pages for this; do you really want to be in such a web directory? I wouldn’t;
b. The web directory has really got 5 pages in it, but more than 100 links in them; according to Matt CUTTS, this is probably a web directory you wouldn’t want to be part of;
c. The web directory has more than 5 pages in it, but they haven’t been indexed; there might be a few main problems for this:
i. The web directory hasn’t got enough links to it, thus Google isn’t interested in indexing it; would you want to be in a directory who can’t gather a few links for itself? I wouldn’t;
ii. The web directory did some bad stuff, thus Google doesn’t index it; now that’s a bad business, I would avoid such a web directory;
iii. There are problems with crawling (Flash entry page, JavaScript links, etc.;); again, I wouldn’t want to be in such a web directory, if I can’t know for sure that my listing will be indexed;

I told you above about the „5” number; that’s a rather low number; set it as you may wish; generally, a web directory should have at least 20 different categories, and for such a small number in each categories there should be at least 3 pages with links (so a number of 50 total pages for a web directory is a good number as a minimum); you can lower your standards, or put them higher, but do remember that if a web directory is not indexed or has a few pages to index at all, you may not wish to be in that web directory;

My criteria for this task were to pick web directories that have at least 50 pages indexed by Google; how to check this?

with a similar procedure as above, we set a column like this:

We will finally get a file similar to this, and repeat the procedure;

After this step is done, we will get a smaller list of web directories

7. Checking the web directories manually

For this step you will need NoDoFollow add-on for Firefox;

Open the remaining list of web directories, make sure that NoDoFollow is working and eliminate from your list the web directories that put NoFollow on your links; also have a look on the web directories and remove those that seem to be bad for your business (use the uncommon thing called „common sense”);

8. More removal

Now that you have a web directories list, you should pick a few web sites and start submitting those web sites into web directories; my suggestion is to split your list of web directories to the number of web sites and only submit your web sites in a specific number of web directories (not more than 50-100 per month), since you can get penalties for submitting a web site into too many web directories at once;

So, if you have 1.000 web directories and 20 web sites you want to submit, you should split the 1.000 list into 20 lists of 50 web directories, and pass through the whole list of web directories; you will further eliminate from the list the web directories that have errors at the submission process;

Do check-up your email you used at the submission process for confirming some submissions which require you to do email confirmation;

9. Final check-up

Two months after you have submitted the web sites, you should do a Google search to see if the sites were approved; you can do this with a search like this:

The above query, adapted to your need, should give you at least one result; if not, you should further reduce your list;

10. What to do next?

One year passes after this step; you should check again for new appearances on the web directories market; yes, the above process should be repeated from time to time; an alternative to this would be setting a Google Alert or a Yahoo! Pipe, which should check the web for you and alert you whenever a new web directory appears on the web;

A common word to add into those alert services would be „web directory”;

Bottom line: this is my procedure to create the (rather) perfect web directory list; I hope that my tutorial will better serve you in creating a list of web directories to which to submit your web site.

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