How to Check and Improve Domain Reputation

Suryanarayan Pal
BySuryanarayan Pal

7 mins read

Domain reputation is similar to credit score in the finance sector. If you have a good credit score, the banks will see you as a valuable customer and give you preferential treatment.

The same happens in email marketing. If your domain has a good reputation, it will signal to ISPs that your emails are relevant and valuable to the recipient. Hence landing them in their inbox.

This guide will help you understand what role a domain's reputation plays in email marketing and how you can keep it intact.

What is domain reputation?

Domain reputation is the health or condition of your branded email domain as determined by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) & Mailbox providers. They are the ones who decide where your email should land - the recipient's inbox or spam folder and domain reputation is one of the key determinants in that.

Among the prominent ISPs, Gmail has Google Postmaster, which tracks the domain & IP reputation, domain trust score, while Hotmail has SNDS, which tracks the IP reputation.

Why should you monitor your domain reputation?

Your domain's reputation is one of the key factors that impact the health of your deliverability. A bad reputation can make your emails land in spam, affecting your email campaign's performance and delivery rates, which means:

  • Your email open rate will decline.

  • The engagement and conversions will drop.

  • Valuable customers won't get your emails in their inboxes.

  • A bad reputation among your customers.

Keeping track of your domain's reputation also becomes crucial when starting a new domain.

As your domain is new, ISPs won't be familiar with it and will think of you as a spammer. This may cause a rise in spam complaint rate. So, in the initial stages of warming up your domain, a proper track of its reputation will reward you in the future. And check email health and improve senderbase reputation score.

Factors that affect your email's domain reputation

There are several email sending practices that may cause a poor domain reputation. Some major contributors are:

1. Blacklisting

ISPs and mailbox providers blacklist domains and IPs to prevent spamming.

Blacklisting occurs when email recipients mark emails as spam or junk. If a particular email sent out to a large database has a high spam complaint, it could result in the domain being blacklisted.

Email blacklisting adversely affects a domain's reputation and can decrease your domain's reputation considerably.

2. Spam traps

Your spam score will decide your email domain reputation. Spam traps are fake email addresses found in hidden locations across the web operated by Blacklisting services. You should be wary of sending emails to spam traps because this could cause email deliverability issues.

Spam traps are difficult to identify compared to bounce rates and spam complaints; they don't respond to emails or sign up for mailing lists.

3. Poor email engagement

Poor email engagement is one of the main reasons for a domain's reputation deterioration. High unsubscribe rates and poor open email rates send negative signals to ISP about your domain, affecting the reputation.

4. Inconsistency in email sending volume

Legitimate marketers grow their subscriber base as the business grows. With time, more emails are shared frequently. The domain's reputation largely depends thus on the consistency and volume of emails sent.

If you send a lot of emails too frequently, it will affect your domain reputation. To avoid that, you should find the right frequency and timings of your emails. You can check out our guide on finding the right email cadence for your next campaign.

5. Domain age

The length of your domain's existence is its age. Anti-spam filters check the domain age. So you must warm your domain up, i.e., use it for at least three months by sending out cold emails to your database to establish a good sender reputation.

Also it's good idea to check domain name quality or domain quality.

How to check domain reputation

You cannot measure the domain's reputation on your own because the information used to give a screw is kept private. It's done to avoid spammers getting access to that information.

But free and paid tools and softwares are available that let you check your domain reputation and other important deliverability metrics.

The next section discusses some of the best-known domain reputation analyzer tools.

4 free tools to check your domain reputation

Use these free tools to monitor and track the reputation of your domain:

1. Google Postmaster Domain Reputation

Google domain reputation offers a free tool, Google Postmaster Tool, to help you assess your domain and IP reputation along with other key deliverability metrics such as email sender score, spam rate, and encrypted traffic.

This tool specifically acts as ip reputation lookup of your domain with Gmail users. So, if most of your subscribers are Gmail users, you can get an extensive report on improving your domain's reputation. For beginners, it can be a bit complex to navigate, so we have written a guide on how to use Google Postmaster tools.

2. MxToolBox

MxToolBox is among the best tools to ascertain the reputation of your domain. All you need to do is enter your domain or IP address, which will run the diagnostic check.

The tool checks for any blacklist and deliverability issues impacting your domain's reputation.

3. Talos Intelligence

Talos Intelligence, an IP and domain reputation tool provided by Cisco, is among the most comprehensive tools to keep an eye on your sender score, domain, and IP and sending reputation.

To use this tool, enter your IP, domain, or network owner for real-time threat data. It will run this through its extensive database and give you a report of your domain's performance.

4. Barracuda

Another tool to use is Barracuda reputation lookup. Barracuda Central maintains a record of IP addresses for known spammers and senders with good email practices. When you enter your IP or domain address, the tool runs it through its database to identify the score of your domain.

Also you may need to use domain spam score checker to check spam score of domain before you purchase new domain and do an ip quality check.

How to improve your domain reputation

To improve domain reputation authority, try the following:

  • Use a double opt-in while confirming the email address to validate it.

  • Make your content highly relevant to the target recipient.

  • Avoid using spam words that can trigger the ISP's spam filter in the subject line and email copy. This will improve your inbox placement.

  • Suppress inactive and disengaged subscribers to maintain the hygiene of your email list.

  • Maintain the right email cadence by finding the right time, frequency, and intervals to maintain ip reputation email.

  • Authenticate the sender domain with protocols such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

  • Review and monitor your DNS records regularly. This will ensure that everything is technically configured and your email deliverability is happening properly.

Maximize your email performance with our free ebook

Optimize the right email metrics for higher ROI

Key takeaways

When you have a bad domain reputation, it is a must to keep a domain reputation check and follow all the authentication protocols. Maintaining your email reputation and increasing your email deliverability rate is not easy, but it's achievable. One easy way to ensure it is by having a good domain reputation. Use domain reputation checkers to keep a tab on how well your domain responds on the web.

Email deliverability and excellent domain reputation mean you are undertaking best practices and can get more conversions, better email performance, make money, and generate more leads.

Hack growth with weekly round up of guides

100k+ marketers like you read these guides every month

What should you do next?

You made it till the end! Here's what you can do next to grow your business:

Get smarter with email resources

Free guides, ebooks, and other resources to master email marketing.

Do interactive email marketing with Mailmodo

Send forms, carts, calendars, games and more within your emails to boost ROI.

Consult an email expert

30-min free email consultation with an expert to fix your email marketing.

Get 3X conversions with interactive emails


Get 3X conversions
with interactive emails


Create & send interactive emails without coding


Put revenue on auto-pilot with pre-built journeys


Save time with AI-powered email content creation

1000+ businesses grew with Mailmodo, including