What Is Domain Reputation and How It Affects Email Deliverability

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Written by:Suryanarayan Pal


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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.

Table of contents

What is domain reputation?

Domain reputation is the health or condition of your branded 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, 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, which means:

  • Your email open rate will decline.

  • The engagement and conversions will drop.

  • Valuable customers not getting in the recipient's inbox

  • A bad reputation among your valuable 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. So, in the initial stages of warming up your domain, a proper track of its reputation will reward you in the future.

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Factors that affect your email's domain reputation

Domain reputation is influenced by several factors, but some of the major contributors are as follows:

1. Blacklisting

ISPs and mailbox providers blacklist domain 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 repute considerably.

2. Spam traps

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 hinder your email deliverability considerably.

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 rate 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 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 find your email cadence.

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.

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 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's reputation

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

1. Google Postmaster

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

This tool specifically tracks the reputation 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.

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 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.

How to improve your domain reputation

If your domain To improve domain reputation, 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.

  • Suppressing 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 of your emails.

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

  • Make it a regular habit to review and monitor your DNS records. This will help you understand everything is technically configured and your email deliverability is happening properly.

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Key takeaways

Getting email deliverability right 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, make money, and generate more leads.

What you should do next

Hey there, thanks for reading till the end. Here are 3 ways we can help you grow your business:

  1. Talk to an email expert. Need someone to take your email marketing to the next level? Mailmodo's experts are here for you. Schedule a 30-minute email consultation. Don't worry; it's in the house. Book a meet here.

  2. Send emails that bring higher conversions. Mailmodo is an ESP that helps you to create and send app-like interactive emails with forms, carts, calendars, games, and other widgets for higher conversions. Get started for free.

  3. Get smarter with our email resources. Explore all our knowledge here and learn about email marketing, strategies, best practices, growth hacks, case studies, templates, and more. Access guides here.

About the author

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Growth Marketer at Mailmodo

Suryanarayan has seven years of experience in email marketing for B2B, SaaS, and e-commerce industries. He specializes in email deliverability and project management.

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