How to Sell on Craigslist > Optimizing Your Craigslist Search Results

Optimizing Your Craigslist Search Results

Basically, there are two ways for a buyer to find your ad on Craigslist: by browsing or by searching.

When you post an ad, it appears at the top of the list on the main page for your chosen category. As other people post ads, yours will get pushed further down the page. As more and more people post their ads, your ad will be pushed to page 2, page 3 and so on…

craigslist post 1


craigslist post 2

Many people assume that if their ad is no longer on the first page or two, their ad will not be seen. Then they attempt to re-post the ad to make it appear towards the top. This is known as “top-posting,” which goes against community rules, clutters up the site, and is unnecessary anyway.

Focus on the actual words used in your Craigslist ad.

Instead of worrying about what page your ad is on, what you need to focus on is the keywords you use in the text of your ad. This is what keeps your ad relevant no matter what page it is on because of the way the search results work.

In order to understand exactly how results are returned on CL, here is something I encourage you to try.

iPod Search

Very commonly listed items are electronics like an iPod Touch a few years ago. Let’s see the differences in ad results, based on how you search for this item.

Go to the search box for almost any city at any time and type “ipod” and then search. Note the results.

Next, type “ipods” in the search box and check the results again.

The results are different, right?

ipod craigslist


ipods craigslist

This is because Craigslist matches the exact words in the search box to the exact words in the ad titles and descriptions. Many people think that if they go to CL and search “ipods” that all iPods listed will come up in the results. It doesn’t work like that.

If you search “ipods”, you will only get ads that have the exact word “ipods” somewhere in their ad title or description.

A site like Craigslist does not automatically return search results based on similar words or plurals. It will only return ads containing the exact text typed in the search field.

Why is this important?

Because thousands of people who search for items on Craigslist do not know how the search results work and don’t know how to be found in Craigslist search results.

Craigslist is not a search engine and will not return results that are similar or related to the words typed into the search field.

Therefore, people who search “ipods” may not see anything they like, then close the website without seeing any ads that only contain the word “ipod” without the “s”.

Plural and Singular Terms in Your Ad

Keep this in mind whenever you are posting an ad. Be sure to include the singular AND plural versions of your main keywords, as well as any alternate words that might be used to describe your item.

For this example, be sure your ad says both “iPod” AND “iPods” so you will have a much better chance of showing up in the search results for all potential buyers.

If you are selling a keyboard, be sure to type “keyboard” AND “keyboards” in the ad, or “couch” and “sofa.”

Try to think about what keywords any potential buyer might type into the search field, and be sure to use any and all of those words in the description of your item..

Next Page: What to Include in Your Craigslist Ad