Step by Step guide to fixing Gmail delivery
I regularly see folks asking how to fix their Gmail delivery. This is a perennial question (see my 2019 post and the discussions from various industry experts in the comments). Since that discussion I haven’t seen as much complaining about problems.
There are steps that work to get delivery fixed at Gmail.
- Verify that your mail is actually going to bulk. I had one client that had a bad / medium reputation at Google, but their mail was actually inboxing for the most part. We spent a lot of time trying to fix the reputation without success but it didn’t matter as they were reaching the folks they needed to reach.
- Cut way back on your mail to google. Stop sending to anyone who is currently receiving the mail in their bulk folder. About the only way to know who’s getting mail in bulk is to focus on those folks who are opening or clicking on mail. Send only to people who have opened or clicked in the recent past (you can pick the timeline, but I don’t recommend going back more than 90 days for this). Do this for a minimum of a month.
- Monitor both delivery and your reputation. The reputation graphs at google are a lagging indicator and they take between 3 and 4 weeks to reflect changes in behavior.
- If you don’t see improvement: investigate what mail that you don’t know is using your domain and ensure they implement the same level of hygiene.
- If you don’t see improvement still then look at what other mail you are sending to google. There are lots of small domains that use GSuite to host their mail. Mail to those domains does affect reputation. Sometimes there’s enough volume that it breaks remediation and you need to apply the same hygiene to the hosted domains before you get an improvement in delivery.
- Once you start to see improvement in inboxing and reputation you can start to re-engage with the addresses that you removed for the reputation repair process. Do not drop them back into the feed all at once, start a warmup process to get you back up to full sends. You may need to permanently remove some unengaged recipients from the list.
It does take time to see improvements reflected in Google Postmaster tools. The good news is that when you’re on the right track mail will start to go to the inbox before you see your reputation improve.
It takes patience to fix delivery at Gmail, but it can be done. Focus on sending mail to the people you know are getting mail in their inbox and who are actively interacting with that mail. Eventually, the ML filters will learn this is wanted mail and know all of your mail should go to the inbox.