Search engine optimization (or SEO) and email marketing are two separate components of the marketing mix. You could say that email marketing is the last thing online that SEO has no influence on. The demarcation zone between the two domains is however not so clear, so what are the possible contributions of SEO for the delivery of your emails?

Apart from web versions, e-mails obviously cannot be indexed publicly by Google. There is therefore no need to take care of the optimization of your emailing for search engines. When it comes to delivering your emails, you can ignore the principles of SEO.

But are you so sure? Search engines may not (yet) index emails, but that doesn’t mean that email advertisers have nothing to learn from SEO.

Here are six SEO principles that will help you improve the delivery of your emails:

1. Don’t make your code complicated

Search engines are unable to process flash content and often have difficulty with other types of encoding such as Javascript. Email clients work the same way, and most don’t accept any form of encoding.

The majority of email clients are unable to load emails that contain scripts, and these can also cause delivery problems.

It is therefore important to opt for a simple code. For your email templates, don’t give in to the JavaScript siren song and stick to the HTML code. If you must use CSS, do it correctly.

If you personalize your emails, make sure they are rendered HTML once sent, for example through a direct mail system suitable for emails like Smarty.

Remember to always include a text version of your newsletter for email clients who simply cannot interpret the HTML code.

2. Make good use of headers

All content creators and smart webmasters take care to include a description in the “meta” tag of their web pages so that search engines can, in their results, give their users an overview of the content of these pages . Meta descriptions do not directly influence the ranking of web pages, but they greatly contribute to the increase in the clickthrough rate of the search engine on your pages.

An email has a header or pre-header that contains what you might call its metadata. This is the text the recipient sees in their inbox, below or next to the item. If it is not completed, the header will show for example:

  • Can’t read this email? Open the web version.
  • You are receiving this email because you signed up for …

As you can imagine, this is not how you are going to improve your email opening rate. But composed correctly, an enticing or intriguing header can make the recipient want to know more, thereby improving your opening rate and your reputation as a sender.

3. Find a good text / image balance

Text is more effective in SEO than images because search engines are unable to recognize the content of an image. But good images can really enrich your content. Likewise, images and visual stimuli can make your emails more striking.

Using too many images and not enough text in an email, however, can be problematic on delivery as email clients are unable to recognize the content of your email and may classify it as spam.

So keep a good balance between text and images. If you use images, be sure to add the “alt” and “title” tags in your HTML code.

4. Choose your keywords carefully

Choosing the right keywords is crucial in SEO. The same goes for email delivery, since many email clients use these words to determine if your email poses a potential spam risk.

Above all, avoid any content that could shock and even if it is debated among specialists, it is advisable to closely monitor your delivery performance when you use words like “free” or “special offer” in the objects of your e- mails.

5. Be easily identifiable

Asserting yourself as an author is one of the latest trends in SEO. Content creators are increasingly claiming their status. Authorship should be of decisive importance in SEO, and authors’ portraits in search results are already driving up click-through rates.

When it comes to email marketing, standing out is even more important. In this context, reputation is crucial and in order for a recipient to verify your identity, you should always present correct information to allow identification.

6. Be relevant

Last but not least. Above all, the best way to rank well in search results is to produce relevant content. Google and other search engines are constantly improving their algorithms to provide their users with good search results. If your goal is qualitative, this is the best long term SEO strategy.

Email marketing follows the same rule. Relevancy is your best asset for improving the delivery rate of your emails. If you send relevant content, recipients will not classify your email as spam.

Relevant content also ensures that your emails will be open, which will improve your reputation and more generally the conversion rate of your campaigns.