Your IP represents the sending environment, typically a shared IP owned by your email service provider (ESP). Knowing the sending IP reputation of your Job Search Engine gives insight into the reputation of your ESP, which directly influences connection-level blocks and sending delays. In other words, a poor IP reputation means more bounces and slower delivery. Here in this article, we will be providing you with a detailed guide on What an Email Reputation is, what are its types, why is it important and how can you take care of it especially if you are a job site.
Let’s start with the basics and understand what an Email Reputation is.
What is Email Reputation?
Reputation for an email sender is similar to a credit score for you. If the score is good, Mailbox providers respect your emails and deliver most of them to Inbox. If it isn’t, your emails land in spam.
There are 3 types of reputation that mainly affect Inboxing.
- Domain Reputation
- IP Reputation
- Content Reputation
Mainly, there are 3 domain factors in any Email that contribute to domain reputation.
- DKIM Signing Domain: DKIM Domain is the authoritative signing domain of your email. You can see it when you look at full headers of any email as “Authentication-Results”.
- Return-Path Domain: This is the domain used in the Return-path header in your email.
- FROM Domain: The domain used in visible FROM address of your email.
Gmail is a domain reputation heavy mailbox provider.
IP reputation is the reputation of the delivery IP of your mail stream. Lately, mailbox providers are moving to domain heavy reputation systems, but IP reputation still matters and it can have a direct impact on the Inboxing.
Many people confuse IP Reputation with Domain Reputation but they are different in various manner. Later in this article, we have a section which explains the difference between IP and Domain Reputation.
The body of your email also carries a reputation. While domain and IP reputations are measurable via the postmaster tools mailbox providers give. You cannot directly track the content reputation. Instead, It can be arrived at after multiple tests. Here are the usual pieces within your email content that contribute to content reputation.
- Link tracking domains, Image hosting domains, etc. contained in your email
- HTML structure and layout of your email.
- Text Phrases within HTML tags an email like alt tags.
- Text Phrases in the content of your email.
IP Reputation vs Domain Reputation
Email is sent from IP addresses, which serve as unique identifiers of email streams. Some companies send from a shared IP, which means multiple companies use the same IP address to send their email.
Senders with higher email sending volume usually opt to send from a dedicated IP address that belongs only to their organization. No matter what your sending volume is, most email senders should send their transactional and marketing email on separate IP addresses.
By using a dedicated IP, you can better control your IP reputation because you’re not impacted by other senders’ bad practices.
Your domain reputation is based on your sending domain instead of your IP address. This means that your brand takes precedence when it comes to ISP filtering decisions.
There has been a sharp move towards domain reputation predicated by the move from IPV4 networks to IPV6 networks.
While it’s not yet common practice to use domain reputation, required under IPV6 (though Gmail is already the strongest proponent), ISPs are starting to use the combination of IP and domain reputation until IPV6 is fully adopted.
How to build up your IP reputation!
Here’re a few ways to build a great IP reputation. Don’t forget to implement them – as the IP reputation of your job search engine can have a direct impact on its Domain Reputation, and thus on your overall sender score.
Step 1: Getting Started with Data Collection
This is where you start the journey of building a reputation. The first question to answer is: Where are my users coming from? As a sender, you need to look at every path a user can take to signup for your service. It could be social signups (Google and Facebook authentication), Manually entered email IDs, Coreg signups, Third-party opt-ins, signup over an app, etc.
Track them differently as each of these sources will show a difference in terms of responses, quality and might need a different treatment.
This is especially important in the jobs space where Co-Reg and 3rd party opt-ins can be fairly common.
Each of these signup sources should go through different journeys to ensure the final user is genuine.
Step 2: Data Segmentation and Targeting
This is your next pitstop in building a reputation: The questions you need to ask in this part of the journey are: – What email is my user getting as soon as he or she signs up? – What’s the average time the user is active with my job alerts before going dormant? – What stage of the job search process is a user in – am I sending relevant emails based on the stage of their job search?
A crucial best practice to start a user journey is to send a welcome email as soon as the user registers.
User activity on job boards is usually very high in the first few days when the user is searching for a job and it reduces after that. Knowing that the user has accepted a job offer and is no longer looking is very important so that you can target the user with different content than job alerts.
Example: Salary comparison emails.
Step 3: Have a Robust Data suppression policy
It’s important to have a policy in place the spells out after how many days of inactivity, are you going to suppress the user from further emails. Before suppressing the user, you should collect feedback from that user as to why he’s unresponsive suddenly? And your policy should be clearly outlining the different suppression situations and your approach to dealing with them.
Content Targeting is important, but a less addressed pitstop. Spam filters break down the creative into tens (in some cases hundreds) of components and calculate reputation for each of these components. If cumulative reputation for that creatives comes as negative, your emails will not see the light of inbox.
Pay attention to these metrics to build and maintain your IP Reputation
Building and maintaining a good IP reputation is very important to achieve a high email delivery rate. By paying attention to the given below metrics you can ensure that your reputation building process is on the right path.
Authentication: Ensure that your emails are authenticated properly, with SPF and DKIM pass.
Feedback Loop complaints: These are users marking your emails as spam in Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc. The average has to be less than 0.1%, but note that mailbox providers do not and need not report all the spam complaints.
Open rates and Click Rates: The engagement metrics that need to be monitored are the number of opens and clicks to the total amount of emails you deployed. Calculate the percentage for them and compare it to the industry standard.
Unsubscribes and Bounces: You need to monitor the number of unsubscribes, as well as bounce ids, as an increase in the percentage of these metrics will showcase as negative factors for mailbox providers. Which will lead to a dip in your domain reputation? While the above metrics are important to monitor, you should also track the following closely as possible.
Delivery Speed: If your email provider is delivering at 100K emails an hour, is it consistent or do you see any throttling by the mailbox providers. If a mailbox provider is throttling you, there is something negative about the campaign you deployed and it has to be looked at. If throttling is consistent, it will have an impact on performance, reputation, and deliverability.
Inbox Placement rates: Track in your own seed accounts or use an external provider like G-Lock apps, 250 OK, etc
Gmail Postmaster: Gmail has a postmaster page where every sender can track their domain and IP reputation at Gmail. Available at gmail.com/postmaster.
Returnpath’s Senderscore: Senderscore is a score assigned to an IP on a scale of 0 – 100. 0 being bad and 100 being good. While the significance of sender score is reduced greatly these days, it still gives you sense of the quality of mailing going from an IP address. Especially, if you are on a shared pool, tracking this gives a deeper idea on the quality of infra.
DNSBL Monitoring: MXtoolbox and MultiRBL are online tools where you can check if your domain or IP address is listed in any of the DNSBLs globally. While only a handful of them are really effective and impacts on reputation and IPR, others still give you a perspective.
You can check if emails from your domain are landing in Spam – Email Blacklist Checker Tool