If you are a busy marketer or business owner, you probably already use a few shortcuts with your email campaigns to ensure timely delivery of your marketing message. When done right, this can enhance both your ability to deliver good content and free up a considerable amount of time producing it.
What many marketers never considered, however, is the impact that emails have on SEO. Everything you do online that is tied to your brand affects SEO in one way or another. With that in mind, let’s take an in-depth look at one specific area of email marketing and how it affects SEO: templates.
What Is an Email Template?
Like with anything else, a template is just a starting point. It creates a specific formula for your messaging and sets boundaries, so the information contained in the email fits your brand’s message and keeps the messaging on-point.
You may have to try several different templates to find one that appeals to a broad enough cross-section of your list to increase your open rate. If your email campaigns are falling flat, it’s not the message that is an issue. The issue is with the delivery.
Experimenting with templates gives you the opportunity to discover the best delivery method for your unique audience.
Why Use Email Templates?
As reported by Litmus’s 2016 State of Email Production Report, 32.4% of companies use email templates when sending messages to their customers’ inbox.
Templates allow today’s DIY Marketer to create visually stunning emails in a matter of minutes without needing the help of a designer or developer to build it.
In light of this, 14.1% of companies code most or all of their email templates themselves. This gives them full control over their model from the start and can help ease the process of consistent branding throughout their marketing initiatives. The structure of your emails may change over time, but learning how to use templates effectively will make those adjustments more accessible and more effective.
Email Templates and SEO
Email messages are not like blog posts or informational articles. They don’t typically “live” on your website, but they generally are associated with your domain. A good example to look at is the Grammarly template.
Visibly, it is not uncommon to use emails as a form of outreach. Thus, while doing so it is important to keep the information, formatting and any other elements that might be included as relevant as possible to the topic at hand. Staying on track while sending outreach emails helps search engines establish how your site will rank overall.
The templates you use are particularly important because they determine how your message is delivered. This is important for several reasons. For starters, they affect both on-page and off-page SEO. We will look a little deeper at how each is changed in a moment. For now, think about the “in and out” nature of your messaging. You want the message that goes out to be heard, and you want it to garner a positive response. We will use that concept as the springboard for analyzing white-hat SEO methods in an email that can have a positive impact on your rankings.
Even though the pages that house email messages are temporary, the search engines still gather ample information about your sending habits and the overall quality of the copy contained in your email messages. The more often you send, the more the search engines will scrutinize your content. That means that several things need to be considered:
Subject Lines – Subjects that use too many superlatives or hyperbole get flagged by both spam filters and search engine spiders. Keep the messaging in your subject lines practical and believable, examples:
Spelling and Grammar – Since email is conversational, search engines tend to look at email-based messaging with a slightly less critical eye than even a blog or academic paper.
Punctuation – Even the most conversational text relies on punctuation to keep the messaging clear to the reader. Proper use of punctuation marks in your emails is necessary for good domain rankings. That means the text of your templates needs to have punctuation sorted out and added in the right places before any personalization to the message you’re sending takes place.
This is by far the more significant concern for your email campaigns. So much of the activity in email messages revolves around clicking links to spur on specific actions or generate particular conversions. All of that activity is noticed and monitored by the search engines. They analyze the number of times people click on your links and what they do at your site once they’ve clicked through.
It is critical that the messages in your emails maintain a high degree of congruity with the content of the pages to which you are linking. If it isn’t, your bounce rate will increase exponentially, and your ratings will plummet.
When developing your templates, you have ample opportunity to analyze your message and make changes before you ever load emails for distribution. While never fool-proof, using models makes it possible to satisfactorily align your messaging with your back-links in a way that tells the search engines that your message is consistent.
When deciding where to place links in your email templates, you should be asking yourself several questions:
The answers to those questions will determine the level of impact your template has on SEO. For long-term success, be ready to analyze the performance of your emails. Figure out which links are getting clicked and which ones aren’t. You might have to re-align your call to action or only present the link and CTA someplace else (either within the current message or in a subsequent one).
In some cases, you’ll want to hold off on trying to generate backlinks in the first few messages. Keep in mind that before you can sell anything, you have to build an audience for your brand. That means you want to develop readers before you worry about presenting links or calls to action to click on them.
This is where email sequences can work well in your favor. They generate new content on a regular basis, and they give the reader time to get to know and trust your brand. When you achieve that, your click-throughs increase considerably.
Revising Your Templates
The more often you take the time to examine your metrics and make changes, the better your site will rank. Regarding email content, that means continually crunching the numbers and trying new strategies to increase opens, click-throughs, and conversions. All of those things will contribute to your site rankings because that is, ideally, where all that traffic is headed.
It is necessary to make changes at least occasionally. If you are new to email marketing and tying your email marketing efforts to SEO, it might take some time initially to find the sweet spot between content delivery and reader response. Once you do, don’t get lazy. Keep on top of your numbers. Market demands change rapidly, and that means your message might need to as well.
Templates and SEO: Yes, It’s a Thing
No matter how you deliver content, if it is tied in any way, shape, or form to your domain, it affects SEO. Do not downplay the significance of email in this equation. Develop templates that contain the following components:
Email templates that follow the above criteria often result in high open rates, high click-through rates, and high conversions. All of these things get the attention of the search engines if you are linking back to your pages.
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