How to search Craigslist postings for your state
Craigslist is a very popular free classified ad listing service that is used by tons of people every day! I use it to sell stuff, find freelance jobs, and to even find renters for my rental property! The only thing I do not like about Craigslist is that it does not feature any advanced search features and it keeps you confined to a singular city in your state. I often find things I want on Craigslist that are not in my main city. So if you want to expand your Craigslist search outside of the city you live in or try and at least tap into other markets in your state, then this article will explain how to cross-search classified postings in other cities in your state on Craigslist that you can not otherwise select.
Things You'll Need
- Visit the website in the article links section
THE OLD WAY TO SEARCH FOR ITEMS ON CRAIGSLIST:I am going to first walk you through a basic search on Craigslist, then explain how to search the entire state using the website in the links section. The very first thing you need is something that you want to find on the Craigslist classified site. Go to www.craigslist.com. When you get there, you will need to select your state.
Once you select your state, you will be taken to another page that lists all of the cities, regions, or site nearest you. This list is comprised of all of the major cities in your state that have listings. If your city is not there, you can suggest a new one. I like this feature, but I do not like being confined to just one city when searching for items in my general area.
Once you have selected your city or site - you will be taken to the Craigslist homepage for that city and you can resume searching based on the categories that Craigslist has created.
THE NEW WAY TO SEARCH CRAIGSLIST:As I said earlier, I like the Craigslist search tool, but it ususally confines you to one geographical area and you are only going to see what is posted based on how well the person posting the classified item created keywords and how they organized their listing. I have found things I need on craigslist in different cities and in different listing categories. To make sure that you are really seeing everything available to you in your state, and that you are looking at all of the best possible keywords, we will need to conduct an advanced state-wide search that allows you to broaden your search criteria.
Now we need you to go to another website that is independent of Craigslist to do your search. The site I recommend is called Search Tempest (link in resources). This used to be called Craig's Helper.
The first thing to look at is the "WHERE TO SEARCH" section of the site right under the SEARCH TEMPEST LOGO. This has a red circle that you can slide to make your search area really small, or really big. Try it! Slide it right and left and see how the miles from your zip code get bigger and smaller! Now enter your primary zip code into the box, and select how many areas you want to search around it. You can also play with the more options for search by clicking on the link next to the zip code box. This is very helpful because you can search really close to home, or as far away as you like. See the red box on the attached image.
Once you have entered in your Zip code and selected the area around it that you want to search by sliding the red circle right or left to increase or decrease the milage, you want to move to the SEARCH OPTIONS section. You want to select what you are looking for in the CATEGORY and SUB-CATEGORY Drop down boxes. These should look very familiar because they work just like the Craigslist search selection criteria. The only difference is that the SUB-CATEGORY drop down on this site replaces the section links on Craigslist. See image attached.
You can even specify exactly what type of keywords you are looking for. You will have to play with this, but I recommend that you use this feature if you get a very large sample of items by just doing a general search. This tool is so great to use because it even allows you to put in keywords that you ARE NOT looking for so that the search engine excludes them from your results.
So for my example, I am pretending that I am looking for furniture, a sofa in particular, for sale in my city and cities 125 miles around me. I entered in my Zip code, and I asked it to search within 125 miles of my city. I also entered in that I am looking for the CATEGORY of "SALE/WANTED", and the SUB-CATEGORY of "FURNITURE-ALL". I also only want to see ads with pictures, so I checked the "WITH PICTURE" box. In the keywords, I write in Sofa, and I also ask it not to search TV, chair, or loveseat. See image.
Now click the big red SEARCH NOW button. This will open a page that has numerous boxes with results that have been returned for your city and cities around you. The results are listed by site, and you can even sort the results using the tools at the top. You can scroll down the page and check out each box and the results to see if what you are looking for is there! Each city is boxed in an iFrame, so you will need to scroll these individual results to see what is available.
Example of Search results Page (see image)
Hopefully, you can find things better on Craigslist now that you know how to use this tool! Happy Hunting!
Tips & Warnings
- This works well if you travel between many cities in your state and you are looking for the best available product and price on Craigslist you can find in your area.
- Also great for selling products on Craigslists as you can see how products are listed and what keywords are used to sell them.
- Helps you to broaden how you search Craigslist postings
- Very helpful for finding jobs and freelance opportunities