Picture this: It’s February 1, 2024. Google has just rolled out its new guidelines for email campaigns. The SEO world is buzzing, and there’s a slight air of panic among those who rely heavily on email outreach. But fear not, just like a seasoned captain steering a ship through turbulent waters, I’m here to guide you through these changes with a pragmatic and clear approach.
Understanding Google’s new email standards.
On January 28, 2024, Google announced its comprehensive bulk email sender guidelines. This update aims to improve verification, user consent, and security in email marketing.
At its core, it’s a call for marketers to build trust and deliver value with every email sent. These guidelines are set to become the new standard, ensuring only relevant emails land in users’ inboxes.
First off, let’s break down what Google’s new standards mean for your email campaigns:
- Email authentication. Your emails must be authenticated. This involves setting up SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance). Think of these as your email’s passport, visa, and boarding pass – essential for its journey to the inbox.
- Be careful with unsolicited emails. Sending emails to people who haven’t opted in? That’s kind of a grey area with Google now. Your outreach must be to individuals who have shown interest in what you’re offering.
- Easy unsubscribe options. Make unsubscribing as easy as pie. One-click should be all it takes.
- Keeping spam rates low. Your spam rate should be below 0.10%, and definitely not hit 0.3% or higher. It’s like keeping your cholesterol levels in check – essential for healthy email marketing.
- Enhanced security with TLS. Use TLS (Transport Layer Security) for transmitting emails. Security is not just a feature anymore, it’s a necessity.
Link outreach in the new Google era.
Link outreach, a staple in the SEO diet, will need some tweaking. The focus should be on crafting emails that are genuine, engaging, and provide value to the recipient. It’s not just about asking for a link; it’s about building a relationship.
Whether you’re doing email outreach already or intend to set up outreach campaigns in the future, there are a few action steps you can take to make sure you’re fully compliant. Let’s look at action steps to gear up for the change.
- Audit your email list: Scrub it clean of any contacts that haven’t engaged with any of your emails in the past century.
- Authenticate your emails: If terms like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC sound like alien lingo to you, now is the time to familiarize yourself with them or get an expert who can set them up for you.
- Revamp your email content: Ensure your emails provide real value, are genuinely personalized and aren’t just a thinly veiled plea for links.
- Monitor your metrics: Keep an eye on your spam rate. Treat it like a vital sign of your email campaign’s health.
- Test your emails: Conduct A/B testing to see what works and what trips the spam alarm.
- Educate your team: Make sure everyone involved in your email campaigns is up to speed with these changes. A well-informed team is your best defense against falling afoul of these new regulations.
Remember, it’s not just about surviving these changes; it’s about thriving through them. By getting ahead of this change and pivoting, your performance doesn’t need to suffer, in fact, you can outperform your previous campaigns with better engagement, as a result of better deliverability and personalization.
Resources to bring everything up to scratch.
It goes without saying, you could use some tools to get set up correctly. First, read the official announcement by the big-G below. And then use the following tools to make sure your outreach campaigns are compliant.
New Gmail protections for a safer, less spammy inbox
Offers comprehensive information on DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance), including how to implement it to enhance email security and deliverability.
SPF Record Generator
A tool to help you generate an SPF record for your domain, and authenticate your outgoing emails.
DKIM Core Tools
Tools for implementing DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to authenticate email messages.
About the author – Adam Clarke.
Adam Clarke, author of the #1 best-selling SEO book and certified by the Digital Marketing Institute and the American Marketing Association, has 10 years experience as an SEO director. With a passion for building businesses and teaching digital marketing, Adam has helped companies achieve significant growth through SEO. In his spare time, he enjoys motorbike rides, exploring exotic locations and travel photography.