5 Ways to Use Craigslist for SEO

More than ever, SEO professionals need to get creative to do their jobs well. Google’s Penguin and Panda algorithm updates put an end to the effectiveness of old, unnatural and manipulative tactics that worked well temporarily. In the wake of the recent algorithm updates, we’ve seen tactics rise in popularity like guest blogging, link reclamation, and email outreach.

But have you ever thought about using Craigslist for SEO? Craigslist is full of people who need something. The purpose of this guide is to outline some simple tactics by which you can take advantage of this fact to improve your organic search rankings.

1. Find People Looking for Blog Content Writing

In the wake of Panda and Penguin, many webmasters and small business owners have come to realize that great content is an important foundation of an effective online marketing strategy. This realization often leads them to Craigslist to look for contributors to their blog.

Use some simple searches like “writer,” “content writing,” or “blog content” to find webmasters looking for content writers. Reach out to them and offer to write for their blog in exchange for a link in your author bio. This can be a great way to build relationships, expand your reach, and establish a presence for yourself on blogs across the web.

2. Screen Job Applicants with a Clever Form of Linkbait

If you’re looking to hire for a position or even a temporary gig, have some fun with the application process.

Start by creating an interesting, yet challenging puzzle somewhere on your website that tests the endurance, intelligence, and problem-solving skills of a potential applicant. Require the puzzle to be solved before the application process can be initiated. In your Craigslist job listing, instruct potential applicants to visit the page at which your puzzle exists in order to apply.

People love puzzles, especially when they solve them. And it’s always fun to watch your friend struggle to complete a puzzle you’ve already solved.

As your applicants complete the puzzle, they’ll share it with their friends. Be sure to include share buttons on your website’s puzzle page so it can acquire social signals, which can help positively influence organic search rankings. Not only will you get some great social signals and potentially some inbound links, you’ll effectively screen your applicants for problem-solving skills.

Google did something similar to this in July 2004 with its famous billboard puzzle to attract job applicants with special mathematical talent.

3. Screen Content Writers for Essential Skills

If you’re looking to hire a content writer for your blog, there are a few essential skills they should have to be considered qualified for the job:

  • Basic HTML knowledge
  • CMS experience
  • Quality content writing

You can test all these skills by requiring applicants to compose a new blog post from their personal blog about why they’d make the best fit for the position. This will create buzz for your brand name, and possibly attract a few links as well. Ideally, you want to find a writer who writes well, knows how to use basic HTML to create hyperlinks and images, and knows how to work within a CMS backend.

Similarly, the popular SEO toolset Advanced Web Ranking has recognized the value of inbound links from bloggers around the Web by offering a free license for bloggers who write a review about their software.

4. Build Relationships with Influencers

While interviewing respondents for content writing positions, ask for samples of previous articles they’ve written. In many cases, you’ll find that they provide samples on well-established publishers or other authority domains.

If applicants happen to write for an industry-related publication, ask them if they’d be willing to interview you about your product or service as a story for that publisher. Most authors are more than willing to find eager interviewees for a great story with a unique angle.

5. Accept Payment in Tweets

Companies commonly hold raffles or drawings to create social buzz around their brand and products. This buzz naturally results in links, tweets, and social shares.

You can use Craigslist to generate this buzz by posting an item for sale on Craigslist, then linking to a page on your website that describes how to enter for a chance to win the item. Acceptable methods of entry can include tweeting a certain phrase, using a certain hashtag, or sharing the page on Facebook. Include social share buttons on the page to make it extra easy for people to enter the drawing.


SEOs are being forced to get creative, but that’s not a bad thing; marketers are supposed to be creative, after all. By thinking outside the box, there are many ways to use popular online hubs like Craigslist to do creative SEO.

Have you had success with any of these tactics? Will you be trying any of them? Have you used Craigslist for SEO in a different way than mentioned here? Leave a comment and tell us!

Image Credit: techalam/Flickr

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