When it comes to Lead Generation today, advertising on craigslist is a must! But are your ads really searchable by the public?!? For the past 6 months I have been marketing 250+ real estate listings on craigslist and as a result, my agents have received over 3,000 leads… This all sounds great, above and beyond expectations to be honest, but this month traffic has been down as well as our leads generated have been down. So I did some checking and this is what I found:
- Of the 312 craigslist listings, only 152 were showing up to the public as searchable…
- 51% of my listings are GHOSTING
Yikes! So I want to share how I identified the listings that were ghosting, what actions I took to rectify the problem, and what QA steps I am taking moving forward when posting listings to ensure that I am aware of what listings are ghosting and which ones are not…
All of my listings have a general keyword phrase for my website, like findmeahomeintacoma.com, so the first thing I did was go to the overall search section of real estate in Seattle and searched for findmeahomeintacoma. I then bumped this number against the total number listings that I have in my admin section of craigslist. Now I have an idea of how many listings I have ghosting… Next I opened two instances of craigslist, one for searching and the other on my admin section. I proceeded to copy and past each craigslist listing identification number into the search section of real estate Seattle. If the listing appeared in the search, I am good and its searchable, if the listing did not show up, I deleted the listing…
WHY you say? Because you need an easy way to identify what is ghosting, and craigslist helps you by color coding the listings that you delete blue… Plus know the following:
- If the listing is ghosting, it doesn’t matter if your backend shows active or deleted…the listing is ghosting!
- Also craigslist makes it very easy to repost a deleted listing that you manually deleted, so this process is beneficial to you!
This process is the easiest, cleanest way I know of to identify ghosting listings on craigslist!
Rectify the Ghosting Issue
There is no written rule as to why craigslist decides to mark a posting/listing as a valid post or an invalid post, thus making it ghost. Here are some of the theories that I have tested and found validty:
- When you have multiple listings with very similar words in the description, it is very common that craigslist will flag one or all of them as invalid.
- Putting your descriptions in a “spinner” one can create multiple variations of one listing.
- Multiple cities in the city section of craigslist.
- I have experimented with this theory and found that you should put no more than two areas in this section.
- Titles play a minor part in the validity of a post, but I have found that having the same catch phrase or icons in the title section, you run the risk of the post ghosting.
- Create a list of words that you want to use in your titles and rotate the words.
Now that we have identified the ghosting posts which are now marked as deleted and are blue; and we have identified some of the theories to ghosting, you now need to repost the listing… WARNING: please make sure you wait 48 hours from initial post! If you do not, craigslist will NOT re-run the “validity” test against your post and you will still have a ghosting post!
After you make changes to either the description, the title, or the city area…maybe all three areas at once, you then need to wait 30 to 45 minutes and then check the new craigslist identification number against the public search area to see if your post is now publicly searchable or is it still ghosting!
My QA Steps Moving Forward
- I only post 15 listings on craigslist per hour.
- I identify and validate my listing each time I post to ensure I am aware of what ghosted and what has not.
- When a listing ghosts, I delete it and change something dramatically.
- I then rinse and repeat each day!
If anyone has questions, comments about this subject I would love to hear them!