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From Good to Great: Factors That Affect Domain Reputation

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    Having a good domain reputation is essential for any business that wants to have an online presence — but what constitutes a good reputation? 

    There are many facets and factors that go into creating and maintaining a reputable online presence, and it pays to know what they all are. 

    This blog post will explore the components of effective domain reputation building, giving businesses insight into how they can turn their website from okay to outstanding in the minds of web users. 

    Read on to discover key strategies for improving your site’s legitimacy and trustworthiness while increasing your visitor count!

    What is domain reputation and why is it important, especially in 2024

    Domain reputation is not just important in search engine optimization (SEO) and online brand building – it also plays a crucial role in email marketing. 

    In fact, your domain reputation can directly impact your email deliverability rates, which can in turn affect the success of your email campaigns. 

    According to a report by Return Path, email deliverability rates have been declining steadily over the past few years, with an average inbox placement rate of just 83% in 2021. This means that one in six emails are not reaching their intended recipients.

    A study by Litmus found that the top factor affecting email deliverability is sender reputation, which includes domain reputation. Emails from senders with poor reputations are more likely to be marked as spam or blocked by email providers.

    Another report by Return Path revealed that 79% of email delivery issues are related to sender reputation, which includes factors such as email volume, frequency, and content quality.

    The importance of domain reputation is also reflected in the email authentication protocols that have been developed to combat spam and phishing attacks. 

    These protocols, such as SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, rely on domain reputation to verify the authenticity of email senders and prevent fraudulent emails from reaching recipients.

    In summary, domain reputation is critical in email marketing, particularly in 2023 as email deliverability rates continue to decline. 

    By maintaining a positive domain reputation through good email practices such as sending high-quality content, managing email frequency, and maintaining a clean email list, businesses can improve their chances of reaching their target audience and achieving their email marketing goals.

    In addition to domain reputation, there are other types of reputation that can affect a business’s email deliverability and online reputation, including:

    🔹 IP address reputation

    This is a measure of the reputation of the IP address used to send emails. Email service providers use IP address reputation to determine whether to deliver emails to recipients’ inboxes or to send them to spam folders. Factors that can affect IP address reputation include email volume, spam complaints, and bounce rates.

    🔹 Content reputation

    This refers to the reputation of the content within the email itself. Email filters may analyze the content of emails to determine whether they are spammy or contain malicious links or phishing attempts. Content reputation can be influenced by factors such as the use of spammy words or phrases, excessive use of images, and inappropriate or suspicious links.

    🔹 Sender reputation

    This is a broader measure of a business’s overall reputation as a sender of emails. Sender reputation takes into account factors such as the quality of the email list, frequency of email sends, email engagement rates, and spam complaints. A good sender reputation is essential for maintaining high email deliverability rates and avoiding being flagged as spam.

    Domain and subdomain. What is the best for mailings?

    A domain is a unique name that identifies a website on the internet, such as example.com. It is part of the website’s URL and is used to direct internet traffic to the correct web server. A subdomain, on the other hand, is a subset of a domain name and is used to organize and categorize content on a website.

    The difference between a domain and subdomain is that a domain is the primary identifier for a website, while a subdomain is a secondary identifier that is used to organize content on that website. 

    For example, if a business has a website at example.com, it might use subdomains such as blog.example.com or shop.example.com to organize different types of content or functionality.

    When it comes to using subdomains for email marketing, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

    ✅ First, it is important to ensure that each subdomain has its own dedicated IP address and email authentication records such as SPF and DKIM. This will help to maintain a good sender reputation for each subdomain and avoid having a single issue affecting all email traffic.

    ✅ Secondly, it may be useful to use different subdomains for different types of email campaigns, such as newsletters, promotional emails, and transactional emails. This can help to better organize email campaigns and make it easier to track their performance and impact.

    ✅ Lastly, it is important to ensure that any links included in emails use the correct subdomain to avoid confusing recipients or triggering spam filters. For example, if a promotional email is sent from promo.example.com, any links included in the email should also use the promo.example.com subdomain.

    Overall, subdomains can be a useful tool for organizing and categorizing content on a website, including email marketing campaigns. 

    Factors that affect domain reputation

    ✅ Content quality

    The quality of a website’s content is a significant factor in domain reputation. Websites that provide high-quality, informative, and relevant content are more likely to be viewed as credible sources of information, while websites with poor or low-quality content are likely to be viewed as spammy or low-value.

    ✅ User engagement

    User engagement metrics such as bounce rate, time on site, and page views per session can also influence domain reputation. Websites that have high levels of user engagement and retain users for longer periods are likely to be viewed more favorably than those with low engagement rates.

    ✅ Link profile

    The number and quality of external links pointing to a website can also affect its domain reputation. Websites with a large number of high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources are generally viewed as more credible and trustworthy than those with low-quality backlinks or a lack of backlinks altogether.

    ✅ Domain age

    The age of a domain can also play a role in its reputation. Older domains that have been around for a longer time are generally viewed as more established and trustworthy than new domains.

    ✅ Website security

    Website security is becoming an increasingly important factor in domain reputation, particularly as cybersecurity threats continue to rise. Websites that have implemented strong security measures such as HTTPS, SSL certificates, and multi-factor authentication are viewed more favorably than those that lack such measures.

    ✅ Complaint rates

    The rate at which recipients mark a sender’s emails as spam or unsubscribe from their email list can also affect domain reputation. High complaint rates can damage a sender’s domain reputation and reduce email deliverability rates.

    What is top-level domain (TLD) reputation and how does it affect email deliverability?

    Top-level domain (TLD) reputation refers to the reputation of the domain extension in the email ecosystem. TLDs are the last part of a domain name, such as .com, .org, .net, and so on. 

    Each TLD has its own reputation based on the volume and quality of emails sent from that TLD. 

    TLD reputation is a factor that mailbox providers and email filters use to determine whether to deliver emails to recipients’ inboxes or to send them to spam folders.

    If a TLD has a poor reputation, it can negatively impact the email deliverability of businesses that use that TLD in their email addresses or links. 

    For example, if a business uses an email address with a TLD that has a reputation for spammy behavior, it may be more likely to have its emails sent to spam folders or blocked altogether. Similarly, if an email contains links to websites with a TLD that has a poor reputation, the email may be flagged as spam or phishing.

    However, it is important to note that TLD reputation is just one of many factors that can affect email deliverability. Other factors, such as sender reputation, email content, and engagement rates, also play a significant role in determining whether emails are delivered to recipients’ inboxes or not.

    To help maintain a positive TLD reputation, TLD operators often implement policies and guidelines to prevent spam and other abusive behavior from occurring within their domain. 

    For example, they may require domain registrars to verify the identity of domain owners and monitor domain usage to prevent spamming and phishing. By following these guidelines and best practices, businesses can help maintain a positive TLD reputation and improve their email deliverability rates.

    Top 10 most abused top level domains

    • .tk (Tokelau) – Badness index: 91.7%
    •  .ml (Mali) – Badness index: 89.3%
    • .cf (Central African Republic) – Badness index: 89.1%
    • .ga (Gabon) – Badness index: 87.5%
    •  .gq (Equatorial Guinea) – Badness index: 87.3%
    • .ru (Russia) – Badness index: 52.0%
    •  .top (China) – Badness index: 44.2%
    •  .pw (Palau) – Badness index: 41.8%
    •  .win (China) – Badness index: 41.2%
    •  .bid (International) – Badness index: 40.2%

    The badness index is a metric used by Spamhaus to measure the level of abuse within a TLD. It takes into account various factors such as the number of spam domains, malware domains, and botnet control domains within the TLD. 

    The higher the badness index, the more likely it is that a domain registered under that TLD is involved in abusive behavior such as spamming or phishing.

    These TLDs are often used by spammers and phishers to register domain names for their campaigns due to their low cost and ease of use. However, it’s important to note that not all domains registered under these TLDs are used for malicious purposes, and legitimate businesses and organizations may also use these TLDs for their websites and email addresses.

    It’s also worth noting that this list may change over time as TLD operators and law enforcement agencies take action to combat abusive behavior within their domains.

    What to do to improve domain reputation. Tips and recommendations

    Improving the reputation of your domain is crucial for achieving better email deliverability and building trust with your subscribers. 

    ✅ Use a permission-based email marketing strategy.

    Only send emails to people who have given you permission to do so. This means building a clean and engaged email list that is composed of people who have opted-in to receive your emails.

    ✅ Implement a double opt-in process.

    A double opt-in process involves sending a confirmation email to the subscriber after they have signed up, which they need to click on in order to confirm their subscription. This ensures that the subscriber is genuinely interested in receiving your emails and helps to weed out fake or invalid email addresses.

    ✅ Keep your email content relevant and engaging.

    Make sure your emails provide value to your subscribers and that they are engaging and interesting. Avoid using misleading subject lines, overly salesy language, or spammy tactics like using all caps or excessive exclamation points.

    ✅ Monitor your email engagement metrics.

    Keep an eye on your email open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates to get a sense of how engaged your subscribers are. Low engagement metrics could indicate that your emails are not resonating with your audience, which could hurt your domain reputation.

    ✅ Authenticate your emails with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC.

    These are authentication protocols that help to verify that your emails are coming from a legitimate source. Implementing these protocols can help to improve your email deliverability and protect your domain from spoofing and phishing attacks.

    ✅ Keep your email list clean.

    Regularly remove inactive or invalid email addresses from your list. This helps to improve your engagement metrics and ensures that you are not sending emails to invalid or non-existent email addresses.

    The reputation of a domain should be taken very seriously, you should not change domains like gloves. 

    Changing domains frequently can actually harm your email deliverability, as it can take time to build up a new domain’s reputation from scratch. 

    It’s much better to focus on improving the reputation of your existing domain gradually over time, through a combination of good email marketing practices and regular monitoring of your email metrics. 

    By doing so, you can build trust with your subscribers and improve your chances of getting your emails delivered to their inboxes. 

    Remember, maintaining a good domain reputation requires ongoing effort and attention, but the rewards in terms of improved email deliverability and engagement are well worth it!

    Domain reputation attack

    And at the end of the article, let’s consider another important issue that concerns the reputation of a domain, these are targeted domain reputation attack

    A domain reputation attack is a type of cyber attack where malicious actors deliberately try to damage the reputation of a particular domain. 

    This can be done in a number of ways, such as sending spam emails from the domain, using the domain to distribute malware or phishing scams, or engaging in other types of fraudulent activity. 

    The goal of a domain reputation attack is to undermine the trustworthiness of the domain and reduce its email deliverability, making it more difficult for legitimate emails from the domain to reach their intended recipients.

    To protect against domain reputation attacks, it’s important to implement strong security measures, such as multi-factor authentication, regular software updates and patches, and employee training on safe email practices. 

    Additionally, monitoring your domain reputation regularly and taking action against any suspicious activity can help to minimize the damage caused by an attack. 

    This may involve taking steps such as blocking suspicious IP addresses or domains, removing compromised email addresses from your list, or working with email service providers or security experts to investigate and address the issue. 

    By taking proactive steps to protect your domain reputation, you can help to safeguard your email deliverability and maintain the trust of your subscribers.


    In conclusion, maintaining a good domain reputation is crucial for the success of your email marketing campaigns. Your domain reputation plays a significant role in determining whether your emails end up in the inbox or spam folder, and ultimately, whether your subscribers engage with your content. By understanding the factors that affect domain reputation and implementing best practices to improve it, you can enhance your email deliverability and build trust with your subscribers.

    To recap, some of the key factors that affect domain reputation include:

    – Email engagement metrics such as open and click-through rates

    – Sending practices, such as frequency and consistency

    – Compliance with email laws and regulations

    – Content quality and relevance

    – Security measures to protect against cyber attacks and domain reputation attacks

    By taking a holistic approach to your email marketing strategy and prioritizing your domain reputation, you can set yourself up for success in 2023 and beyond. 

    Remember, building a great domain reputation takes time and effort, but the rewards in terms of improved deliverability and engagement are well worth it. So, let’s focus on improving our domain reputation and delivering outstanding email experiences to our subscribers!

    Improve your domain reputation with Warmy. If you have questions or concerns we are always happy to help. Consult with us email deliverability consultants – Warmy.io Contacts

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