Imagine you’re looking for something on the web and you don’t know where that information is located. What do you do? If you’re like most Americans you go to Google.com. You might know what you want to search, but you don’t just browse from site to site. You rely on the search results provided to you by Google. In the same fashion, users rely on Craigslist to find things for sale or trade, and this is why Craigslist can be considered the Google of classifieds.
Two Ingredients to Successful Search Results
There are a number of things that can greatly improve your ads’ visibility, however, two of them are paramount: the title and the content.
It’s All About The Title
They might say to not judge a book by its cover, but Craigslist titles are not books. The title to your ad says volumes. Craigslist ad titles are so important that we built a title and search engine optimization (SEO) tool right into our Dice Services Control Panel. This tool allows you to provide detailed information related to the vehicle you want to post, while still allowing for the ad to maintain relevance.
Now, it’s important to provide some specific information within your titles. The typical things you want to include are the vehicle’s make, model and year. However, you may also want to add some variation. Take for example a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta. You might want to also have phrases like “VW” and “09” in the title, as those might be what users type to search, rather than “Volkswagen” or the entire year. It’s important that you make sure your titles are search friendly.
With regards to content, it’s also important that you utilize the space at the end of your ad. Here you can add extra details using keywords to your ads that might help them to show more frequently in search results.
Before we go on, we must say that you need to be careful with this. Using keywords that have no correlation to what you are posting is a huge no-no, and can get your ads flagged. For example, if you are selling a Ford F-150, you can put things like “ford, f-150, f150, pickup,” but you don’t want put things like “focus, hatchback.” Focus and hatchback might get your ad to show more often, but if it doesn’t actually match what you’re selling, your ad can get flagged and removed. You don’t want that.
However, sticking with things like “4x4, 4-wheel drive, four wheel drive” is great. It expresses the same thing differently, which is important, as not all people search the same way.
Something else you might want to consider is adding different years for the same make or model. While this won’t match the vehicle, the year of the vehicle is something that most visitors won’t mind seeing results for, just so long as it’s only a year or two. Using the 2009 WV Jetta example, you might want to add in “2007, 07, 2008, 08, 2010, 10, 2011, 11” to better present your vehicle to the public.
Your Timing is Perfect
Just like content, the timing of your ads are just as important. You want your ads to be there when someone searches. They need to be spaced out in parallel with the times that have the highest search volumes.
This isn’t always easy. Luckily we have created Intelligent Posting; a system that uses over five years worth of analytic data to help determine the best days and times to post vehicles. We would go into more detail here, but we’ve already covered this in our What’s the Best Time to Post on Craigslist? article. Check it out, as it contains everything you need to know about why you should post at certain times, and more importantly, how to do so.