Domain reputation is something you earn over time. It can’t be artificially built overnight and isn’t derived from a single email going to spam or the inbox: instead, it’s based on the long-term state of your infrastructure and the consistency of your sending practices and content.
There are several things you can do to iteratively assess and improve your domain reputation, which in turn should lead to improved email deliverability.
Domain reputation and deliverability, explained #
is the opinion receivers—including mailbox providers and anti-spam services—have of your domain, which helps them decide if your emails should make it to a recipient’s inbox instead of being rejected or ending up in a spam folder. It's
1. Poor IP Reputation can lead to poor domain reputation #
IP reputation and domain reputation are two different concepts, but they can affect each other. Imagine you’re sending from an IP with low reputation: all emails sent from that server will be at risk of not being delivered; if you switch to a different IP with a high reputation, the chances of those same emails reaching the inbox improves.
Except for this: if your domain reputation is high, but you switched to a provider that has a low IP reputation, then you're at risk of having lowered your domain reputation. And once your domain reputation is low, having a high IP reputation won’t be of much help.
Something worth remembering:
- Domain reputation is unique to your domain, regardless of the IP you’re sending from.
2. Email content can lead to spam and deliverability issues #
How to build and improve domain reputation #
1. Domain warmup #
2. Domain classification #
3. Using subdomains #
When it comes to email deliverability, subdomains carry a lot of weight. Using a subdomain rather than your company’s top-level domain will provide easier reputation tracking because its separate from other domains and subdomains being used within your company.
Let’s suppose that someone in your company sends an email campaign that contains broken links. These messages generate a lot of spam complaints and your ISP flags your top level domain. Now all emails sent from your company domain will be affected. This is a huge problem that could have been controlled by using subdomains.
With that said, using subdomains can affect the main registered domain's reputation. But the advantage is that subdomains can only affect each other indirectly.
For example, let's say that you send messages using the subdomains notify.example.com and newsletter.example.com. If you make a mistake with your newsletter and ruin the reputation of newsletter.example.com, you can expect to see some kind of dip in the reputation for example.com as well.
By sending transactional mail over notify.example.com, however, it won't suffer a reputation hit at the same rate. It's only able to be affected indirectly by the smaller reputation hit to the main registered domain.
Because they affect each other indirectly, this means that in many cases subdomains can have wildly varying reputations, which is often vital for protecting your most important mail streams.
4 tools to help you monitor domain reputation #
1. Google Postmaster Tools #
Gmail’s reputation scores are broken out by both domain and IP address. The following tabs are available in the Google Postmaster Tools dashboard:
2. Senderscore.org #
You can pull Sender Score metrics for your domain that’ll include details such as:
3. Talos Intelligence #
4. MXtoolbox #
Postmark and domain reputation #
If you’re sending through Postmark (or are thinking about it), we take care of the infrastructure for you by keeping our IPs clean, throttling our sending rate to ISPs, and properly managing bounce and spam complaints.
We also encourage customers to set up DKIM and a custom return-path to be complaint with DMARC,
High-reputation IPs #
Monitoring your domain health isn’t just a one time ordeal. It’s an ongoing process that requires consistent nurturing.