Email Newsletters Are Currently Not A Google Ranking Factor

Jun 1, 2011 - 8:10 am 3 by

Google Email LogoGoogle has tons of search ranking factors but currently email newsletter metrics are not one of them.

Jake Ludington posted a wild theory at Lockergnome titled Email Reputation Causes Penalties in Google Search Results. He was under the impression that his rankings tanked because of his e-mail newsletter. He said that a Google told him that his email newsletter metrics, open rates, bounce rates, click rates on the links within the newsletter is causing his bad rankings - so he cleaned up his newsletter and purged out subscribers and then submitted a reconsideration request. He was approved and thus felt it had to do with his newsletter.

Matt Cutts had to come in a debunk the wild theory. Matt said in a comment (although he had to post it several places and several different ways):

Sure, I'd be happy to clarify. When you submit a reconsideration request, if the webspam team has taken manual action in the past, we take another look at the site. We do that regardless of what you say in the the text of the reconsideration request. You could slip in "I was kidnapped by aliens, and the aliens said to do a reconsideration request" and we'd still take another look.

Just to make it concrete, it looks like you're talking about your site, right? And I believe a few years ago, your site linked to some lower-quality sites, the sort of sites that bought a lot of links. So the manual webspam team had taken manual action to trust your site less. Your site still ranked fine; we just didn't trust your links because of the sites you were linking to a few years ago.

Then in April 2011, you did a reconsideration request. You might have submitted it for email behavior, but that doesn't really matter. We saw that we'd taken manual action in the past, so that triggered a fresh look. The links to low-quality sites (the sorts of sites that bought links) were no longer there, so we revoked the manual action, and you got a "manual spam action revoked" message in your webmaster console. But the action was revoked because you were no longer linking to those sites, not for anything related to email. I hope that clears up what happened with your site, but just to be clear: it had nothing to do with your site's email reputation.

I've heard of some wild theories but this one is pretty interesting.

Anyway, it is also interesting to read the SEO thoughts on this during and after Matt's debunking.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Sphinn.


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