Email marketing and SEO campaigns are often thought of as two separate modalities, but the practices are far more intertwined than you might realize.
In August of 2015, Google received a patent which the company initially applied for in 2012 that allows the search engine to employ the metrics it harvests from Gmail spam filters to improve its search results.
The patent essentially serves as a way for Google to apply negative email indicators derived from its spam data and to impact the rankings of the brands sending low-quality communications.
While the system may or may not currently be in use (those algorithms are forever mysterious), Google has effectively revealed that the company has an interest in directly tying email marketing to SEO.
Marketers therefore need to pay closer attention to their email marketing efforts and the tactics they leverage, as they can impact far more than just your users’ inboxes.
Even if Google never decides to put its patent into play, email still has a sizable impact on SEO campaigns and overall search rankings.
How Email Influences SEO
There are four major ways in which email can affect SEO campaigns. Some of the points may be more obvious, but looking below the surface can reveal concealed benefits.
The first advantage email has in bettering SEO comes by way of content promotion. Content is the backbone of SEO; it’s the obvious foundation for all rankings.
Email serves as a vehicle to propel content in the same way digital ads do. By sending out email blasts that include recent and popular blog posts, you are giving that content another platform to draw in more readers. This helps to drive additional traffic to your website and keep readers engaged.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are delivering content that resonates with the right readers is by segmenting your email list with the right tools.
GetResponse’s automated email marketing solution enables users to establish different email campaigns based on specific subscriber characteristics such as goals, locations, various demographics, and numerous other fields. Using this type of feature will allow businesses to send out content that correlates with these areas to maximize potential engagements…which leads us to our second point of impact.
Consistent Communication and Link Building
Google uses a variety of metrics to determine a site’s overall ranking; two very important ones are traffic volume and engagement. When a website touts significant traffic and highly-engaged users (meaning a high time on-page and low bounce rates) it helps to bump pages up in search results. Maintaining email communications with consumers assists to keep your brand on their mind and keep them coming back to your site for content, free downloads, and other offers; just ensure that your content is valuable enough to keep them reading.
Arguably the most powerful advantage that email marketing supplies SEO comes in the form of link building. Inbound links from high-authority destinations are highly sought after for their SEO benefits.
Email marketing advocates the sharing of content. If your brand is regularly producing information-packed case studies touting tons of value, spreading the word via email is a great way to get the information into the hands of authoritative sites who can link to your content. Even if your subscriber list doesn’t possess anyone from these kinds of sites, there is another way that email marketing can get the information to them: Social media.
Email marketing, when done properly, encourages its recipients to share the knowledge. And while social media doesn’t have a direct impact on SEO, its indirect assistance does affect search rankings. By making the content contained in emails easily sharable for recipients, you are encouraging them to increase your brand’s visibility on various platforms. This in itself can help your site accrue more traffic and adds to the potential of a high-authority site linking to the materials.
Improving Email for Better SEO
The most important rule in email marketing is to provide your readers sincere value. Just as in content marketing, any reader who feels that a company is pushing an agenda or action is less inclined to engage.
It should go without saying, but don’t spam your customers and don’t purchase subscribers. If you are spamming folks, they will be quick to unsubscribe. The same goes for purchased email addresses; they won’t be on your list for long. And if they do stay, they are highly unlikely to convert as a long term customer.
Finally, as with every other marketing tactic you employ, measure everything. It is vital to understand your subscriber’s habits and if your emails are driving any results. Measure data points such as open rate, click-throughs, conversions, unsubscribe rates, and other vital metrics.
By itself, email does not improve your SEO. It takes several marketing modalities tied to one another for real impact to occur. SEO needs email, email needs content, content needs social media, and so on. By understanding the intrinsic and continuously melding links between all marketing tactics, you stand to become more proficient in each and to ultimately craft a rock-solid marketing strategy.
Adam is a freelance social media and SMB marketing consultant specialzing in helping "brick and mortar" business to master the online sphere . Adam is a NYC native and a big sports fan of anything from New York.