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August 15, 2007

Craigslist is Stealing My SERPs!

I was checking on one of our client's rankings with keywords "dallas dumpster rentals" today. I found the resulting Google SERPs astounding. I've seen spammy results before, but nothing quite like this lately. I checked up to the 10th page and found each one was riddled with Craigslist postings except for a handful of valid entries.

Craigslist Spam

Apparently someone has been quite busy spamming Craigslist. These pages are keyword stuffed with a link, each one pointing to a different location with the anchor text, "Find a Home Contractor". The link then redirects to http://www.servicemagic.com.

Below is just a sample of the text found on the Craigslist postings (link removed, anchor text in red). I did not include all of it as there are 2 1/2 pages worth of keywords crammed in there:

Find all types of Home Improvement Contractors at Find a Home Contractor All types of work and all trades, from dumpster rentals, handyman, painting contractors, floor installers, pressure washing, brick masons to heating and air conditioning, even find an architect or land surveyor. Also have things like gravel or topsoil delivered. All Contractors are pre-screened, save time. Send an e-mail and get contacted back for your estimates.

rental roll off recycling gutters clean shredded mulch buy top soil dallas dumpster metal stairs asbestos cost removal pool enclosure railing stair wood drafting business mobile homes move basement leaks home duct cleaning construction waste removal barbed wire fencing pvc gutters shed installation fire repair sprinkler fuel tank replacement water well information blown insulation pool built crushed stone window sills replace control bees wallpaper-hanger home fire protection cost fill dirt paint contractor washer and dryer repair fix a dripping faucet fire sprinkler installation synthetic golf green building architects

Some of the posts have been removed or flagged for removal and I'll probably try to report some of the ones still in there. I just can't seem to figure out how Google determined that all of these Craigslist postings are more relevant than a website whose sole purpose is in dealing with dumpster rentals in Dallas, without the use of keyword stuffing. It reminds me of the Google Maps spam abuse that happened last month.

So, aside from me going into each of these Craigslist posts and reporting them as spam, any tips on how I should deal with this and get these spammers out of my SERPs so my client can get back in there where they belong?


ADAC said...


If it makes you feel any better they will die on their own in 7 - 45 days unless replaced by another spammy page.

Likely though all of your competition has dropped likewise. Craigslist has massive power but normally their interior pages are pretty easy to get above due to the short time they exist.

A little link building, maybe a couple high PR links, will likely get you back on top, hopefully your competitors will all stay below the spam level. :)

Daniel R said...

While this tactic often leads to spam, as you've noted here there is an important lesson here.

SEO is not always about optimizing the main corp. website. Sometimes, its important to use Social Networks or sites like Craigslist to get visibility for keywords that are important to the client.

You dont have to have #1 ranking on your website. You have to have #1 ranking that drives relevant traffic to the action you want - a purchase, sign-up, awareness etc - regardless if that's your website ranking or not.

stephen@golfhubs.com said...

Not only that, but Google DOES factor in the "importance" of siteA that links to siteB, so unfortunately Craigslist (siteA) has a pageRank of infinity, so published spam does tend to shoot up a bit, however it'll die down.


Zak Nicola said...

I think reporting the spam to Craigslist is the best longterm fix. There are some dirty tricks that can be played upon the CL spammers, but they include spamming CL as well... not the best way to go about it.

The trash always gets cleaned up, and in this case, the dallas dumpsters will remain. :D

Jeffrey said...

This is quite common, my suggestion is to use the report spam button and get the listing dropped, at least then they know that the tactic will not produce results and will usually move on...

Airmekah said...

It is grea to read such a vital and never ending topic in SEO,spammy sites have been a major hinderance in the industry,but more persistant link building efforts can especiall on high PR can help bring back the reputation of your site. Nice post though.

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