Emails It’s easy to see how digital strategies like content marketing and SEO complement each other. But email marketing? What do emails have to do with search engine results? It turns out quite a lot, if you take a concerted effort to make your emails SEO friendly. Here are 20 ways to do it.
1. Use Keyword-rich Text
Emails don’t need to be stuffed with images and videos to capture your audience’s attention. Simple text is often enough to get your message across.
At the same time, including keyword-rich text is important if you want to repurpose your emails for the web down the road. So use visuals in your emails when they’re relevant and add value. But don’t underestimate the value of regular keyword-rich text to optimize your email and SEO strategies.
2. Archive Your Newsletters On The Web
Archiving your old newsletters on the web is a great way to repurpose old content. It also gives you more indexable pages on your site for Google to crawl.
As long as your writing is SEO friendly, you can reach a new audience of people who discover your emails through keyword search. You can also include links from your archive pages back to other pages on your site. This is good for building a network of internal links and attracting traffic to your blog content.
3. Use Lots Of Links
Just about all email marketers include some links in their marketing emails to encourage their audience to convert. But if you expand your linking strategy beyond this, you can attract more traffic back to your site for better SEO. Just like with your blog content, include relevant links in your marketing emails to other content on your website. That way interested readers have an easy way to learn more about related topics.
4. Optimize Your Subject Lines And Meta Description
Besides including relevant keywords in your subject lines, you should also take other efforts to optimize them for search and email simultaneously. Some email subject lines just don’t translate well to the web (e.g. “Jennifer, here’s a coupon for 40% off!”), but others will.
Test how your subject line and beginning sentences might appear as a headline and meta description in search results. Do they successfully convey the topic/value of your content to readers?
Since most email inboxes display a preview of the email body text as well, this is good practice for both email marketing and SEO. Here’s an example of a subject line with a repetitive preview text that could be better optimized for email and search:
5. Use SEO Best Practices In Your Emails
You never know if and when your marketing emails might see the light of day online, so it’s a good idea to use SEO best practices when you write them. That way, they’ll be optimized for search engines when the time comes.
Here are some tips for on-page SEO:
- Include target keywords in your subject line
- Include keywords in the body text of your content
- Use H1 and H2 tags and include keywords
- Optimize anchor text for your links
- Use alt tags with keywords for your images
Here’s a helpful resource on everything you need to know about on-page SEO.
6. Include Social Media Links
Don’t just try to attract traffic back to your website — include social media links in your marketing emails as well. Include calls-to-action asking readers to share your content, visit your Twitter profile, like your Facebook page, etc. At the bottom of Goodreads emails, they always show options to follow their social profiles:
If you’re running a social media promotion campaign, encourage your email subscribers to join in. While there’s still a lot of disagreement in the SEO-world whether social media engagement is a direct rank factor, encouraging social engagement can help drive other behaviors important for SEO, like building links, encouraging site traffic, etc.
7. Create Landing Pages For Your Email Campaigns
Many of your marketing emails will feature special promotions for your products or services. Instead of linking back to generic product pages, you should create unique landing pages for each of these promotional campaigns.
It might seem like a lot of effort for a temporary promotion, but more landing pages means more opportunities for inbound links, keyword optimization, and higher rankings in search results. Here’s an example of a targeted Audible email promotion that navigates visitors to a unique “Listens You Love Sale” landing page:
8. Make Special Efforts To Promote Blog Content
You can encourage more traffic back to your blog content if you make special efforts to promote it in your email messages. For example, you can send out weekly or monthly recaps of the most popular content on your blog. Better yet, segment your audience based on their interests and suggest personalized content.
Shopify does a great job of this with their Entrepreneur Digest:
9. Add Canonical Tags
When you do publish your email archives on the web, be sure to include canonical tags to tell Google where to go. For example, you’ll add something like this into your HTML code:
<head> area <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com/promo-codes/accessories”/>
If you have similar content in your emails and on your blog, Google crawlers might mix up the pages. Canonical tags help Google pull the right URL for search results.
10. Make Your Emails Mobile Friendly
According to Litmus research, 47% of emails are now opened on mobile. If a subscriber opens your marketing email on mobile and finds it difficult to consume your content, they’re likely just to navigate away.
So if you want to encourage people to click your emails and visit your website, make sure you’re delivering mobile-friendly content. Make sure any visual elements load well on mobile, and make sense for single-column viewing.
Litmus has a great email testing tool that allows you to preview how your emails look on different phones, computers, and email clients: