Top 10 Tips for Improving Deliverability in Gmail

Just when you were starting to feel comfortable with spam lists and Gmail, the ‘powers that be’ have turned the screws once more, shifting the algorithms and sending many business emails straight to spam. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’ve been popping up in the inbox for years; You may suddenly find your emails filtered into a junk folder without having changed anything you’re doing.

In Gmail, there are several places your email could end up, and within those destinations, your email can further get sorted into tabs. For instance, the inbox is separated into three primary tabs by default:

  1. Primary
  2. Social
  3. Promotions

More likely than not, your business emails are filtered into the ‘promotions’ tab in inboxes; That is, if you haven’t already been shoved to spam.

The spam box is like a black hole that sucks in whatever is sent its way and doesn’t let go unless the receiver makes a conscious effort to go in and retrieve the email. They must also select that the email be sent to ‘inbox’ from there on out if your further communications are to end up in the inbox.

What we’re trying to say here is this: Your emails start off in the inbox, but once you’re flagged as spam, it can be an uphill battle trying to get back out.

So with the changing algorithms in Gmail, now is the perfect time to really focus on getting your messages in the inbox. Whether you’ve already been flagged as spam or not, it’s definitely worth the time and effort to try these 10 tips.

Tip #1. Encourage Replies

What does it take to get in the ‘primary’ tab of an inbox? For one, it takes dialogue.

When a user interacts with an email, that communication is identified as coming from an important sender. Think: Mom and Dad.

Gmail understands that the more you interact with certain senders, the more likely it is that these are from folks you want to continue talking to. Their emails are more likely to end up in the ‘primary’ tab, so you want to try to get more engagement and more responses if you want to improve your odds.

Tip #2. Whitelisting

As the name implies, whitelisting is the opposite of blacklisting. We briefly described it earlier, but it’s basically taking an email that has been flagged as ‘spam’ and ‘unflagging’ it.

It takes some effort on behalf of the receiver, but it never hurts to ask to get whitelisted. Even a few folks who do this will really help your email communications in the long-run.

Tip #3. Ask to be Primary

This one also takes a bit of effort from the receiver, but it’s less intensive than our previous tip. Here, you simply ask receivers to drag your email to the primary tab. Here’s how to do it ⇒ LINK.


Tip #4. Encourage Adding ‘From’ Name to Address Book

Who do your emails appear to come from when they show up in an inbox? Ask your subscribers to add you to their address book. Contacts in your address book always get delivered into the inbox.

Tip #5. Refrain from THOSE Words

Remember to be smart and stay away from the dozens of bad words that ESPs hate (you know what they are…). We’re going to avoid them here too, but certain buzzwords will get you sent straight to spam if used too much.

Tip #6. Remove Unengagers

Sometimes, people discontinue using an email address or simply stop looking at promotional emails from certain senders, even if they don’t flag you as spam or unsubscribe.

The less often your email is actually open and engaged with, the more you’re knocked down in Gmail’s algorithm. That means you’ll be quicker to be sent to spam in the future if other issues arise.

Instead, take a look at your past emails that you’ve sent out. Do a search in your email marketing service provider, and simply remove all users who haven’t opened your email in the past year. They haven’t engaged in a year, so there’s a slim chance they’ll engage in the future. If they’re really interested, they’ll come back to opt-in again later.

Tip #7. Authenticate your sending domain with SPF and DKIM authentication

Don’t worry about how to do this, just ask your host or Email service to do it for you 🙂

Tip #8. Do a domain and IP address blacklist search

There are ways to find out whether or not you’ve already been blacklisted. To ensure you are not on any blacklist lists, you’ll need to do a little research ==>


Did you show up here? Simply request removal from the list if you see your name on the blacklist.

Tip #9. Tread Lightly on Links and Images

There’s really no exact science to how many links and images you should have in an email, but too many can spell disaster for your emails.

We like to opt for a maximum of no more than 3 links and 2 images. Remove those images that nobody clicks anyways (social icons, fancy signatures), as these can chip away at the limit that spam filters identify.

Tip #10. Unsubscribe Users Immediately

Have you ever tried to unsubscribe from an email communication only to continue to receive those emails for another few days or even weeks afterwards?

It’s super annoying, and it can make your unsubscribers turn into spam flaggers. Why put them (and you) through that?

Instead, make sure that when someone clicks the unsubscribe link they are removed immediately and not “in 7 days from now”.

Want to learn more? Check out some more tips from MailChimp <<HERE>>.

Okay, time to wrap this up.

The more emails you send, the more likely you are to get more customers — but it’s also more likely that you’ll get shoved to the spam list if you aren’t doing it right. Improve deliverability in Gmail by trying the 10 tips above, and stay in the whitelist!

You tell us: Have you noticed open rates going down with Gmail recently? What have you done to stay out of spam?