How to fix your emails getting labelled as spam

You’re sending important emails to clients and they’re not receiving them or they’re going into spam.

How to fix your emails getting labelled as spam

First you have to figure out why your emails are getting labelled as spam. In response to all the real spam, companies like Microsoft and Google look at where the emails are being sent from i.e. the server and the IP address. They also look at your DNS records where your email is registered to.

Your Web Site

Emails that come from unauthenticated senders will get labelled as spam. Example: a web site uses the PHP mail function to send contact form information or sales replies. That can get your whole domain labelled as spam. Doesn’t matter if the emails you send are fine and authorized, your domain name (e.g. ) is associated with the emails coming from your web site which aren’t authorized by your email hosting (gmail, Office 365). Unfortunately a lot of web developers seems to be unaware of this problem or try to cheat the system. I had one client where the web developer changed the client’s DNS settings so emails got sent from the web site but not Office 365.

You need to keep control of your DNS records. Don’t let web developers take them over. DNS is an important business asset.

Here’s some more on sending emails from your WordPress site.

Your Newsletter

Another example would be your newsletter. If you use a third party sender like MailChimp or Constant Contact, you need to authorize them to send those emails from your domain. I had one client using a custom newsletter system as part of their web site sales. The email sending authorization and settings were not obvious. Once I found them, updated the client’s settings in Office 365,  their newsletters stopped going to spam.

Words in Your Emails

Most people know that an email subject line can get an email branded as spam. Did you know certain words and phrases in your email can get you in trouble?  Examples are:

  • 100% Free
  • Be your own boss
  • Free consultation
  • Increased sales
  • Pennies a day

You get the idea. For a more complete list of words and phrases to avoid go here.

How long does it take to get off the naughty list?

Once you’ve cleaned up your web site emails, your newsletter and your email contact, how does it take to get off the spam list? Usually 2 to 3 months after it’s cleaned up, your email will stop  being labelled as spam.

I have had one case where I was able to get the domain off gmail’s naughty list but one single email address for the client is still getting regularly labelled as spam. Unfortunately Google makes it impossible to fix a single email address. Unless you use their service for your email, you cannot contact support to get off the list. Google provides some really difficult instructions as how to the get the receiving person to add you to their safe sender list but a) it is difficult and b) if you only have a person’s email address and no other means of contact how can you ask them to whitelist you?

How to fix your emails getting labelled as spam? Spam filtering has really changed in the last few years and you have examine where you are sending emails from and how they are authorized and their contents.