Believe it: Email Reputation Causes Penalties in Google Search Results

e-mail deliverability SEOA number of Web sites hit with falling search rankings in April had several things in common. These sites publish original articles, frequently in the 500+ word range, which is supposed to be a quality benchmark in the way Google values content. They are authored by writers generally considered to be among the leading experts in their field. And all of these Web sites publish email newsletters. I’m part of this group and while it sounds arrogant for me to consider myself an expert, there are a handful of topics I know more about than most other people.

When my traffic at suddenly dropped in early April, I thought I’d made some kind of change that was resulting in a technology failure. I was wrong. Everything appeared to load as it should. So why the sudden drop? I called around to a handful of friends and discovered I was not alone. Early April was the second round of Panda algorithm changes. With some additional digging, I got a tip from someone at Google who indicated Google was penalizing with some new measurements that penalize email behaviors for domains. In talking with a number of other online publishers who were also hit with a stiff penalty, including LockerGnome, it appears that one common theme is that we all have email newsletters.

At first I simply didn’t want to believe email publishing was my problem. I require confirmed subscriptions. You can’t receive a single issue of my newsletter without clicking a link in the confirmation email saying you really want a subscription. This has been true since the newsletter launched as part of LockerGnome back in January 2001. I’ve always been adamant that people who don’t want to be on my list shouldn’t be and make it just as easy to unsubscribe. I currently use Aweber to send emails, which makes it easy to identify the number of people who mark your email as spam for any given mailing and automatically eliminate them. How could I get penalized for seemingly doing what was right?

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Email marketers need to get back to basics: study

While email marketing budgets and the volume of emails sent has been increasing steadily over the last five years, marketers still need to focus on basics like deliverability and testing to improve performance.

We have just published our Email Marketing Census 2011, sponsored by Adestra, which surveys almost 900 in-house and agency email marketers.

Some findings from the survey after the jump…


Testing should be an integral part of any email campaign, as it offers the opportunity to constantly learn and improve, yet too few marketers are putting this into practice.

Only a third of responding companies (32%) carry out a regular amount of testing for email marketing. One quarter of organisations say they infrequently carry out testing, while 13% don’t test at all.

Generally speaking, how would you describe the amount of testing you carry out for email marketing? (Company respondents)
e-mail marketing testing


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