Article January 29, 2024

Your Guide to the New Google and Yahoo Email Deliverability Requirements

Your Guide to the New Google and Yahoo Email Deliverability Requirements
Coralie Meade Rodriguez
(she/her/hers)
Senior Production Specialist

Is your inbox cluttered with unwanted marketing emails and phishing messages? Good news! Google and Yahoo are taking steps to fix this. Starting February 1, Gmail and Yahoo Mail will route bulk sender emails that do not meet their new requirements to Junk and Spam, or reject these emails outright. The guidelines largely focus on three areas:

  • Email authentication
  • Simplified unsubscription process
  • Spam-rate control

These new rules apply to all bulk email senders who are sending messages to 5,000+ subscribers at once. If this sounds like your organization, we’ve got all the essential information on these standards, as well as a step-by-step guide for meeting these requirements to ensure your emails continue to reach your audience.

Email Authentication

There are three authentication standards – SPF, DKIM, and DMARC – that must be configured within your email tool to ensure your messages are delivered to Google and Yahoo inboxes.

Sender Policy Framework (SPF)

SPF determines whether a sender tool (like Salesforce, Engaging Networks, EveryAction, Luminate Online or Hubspot) is permitted to send on behalf of your organization’s domain (www.YOURORGANIZATION.org).

Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM)

DKIM provides an encryption key and digital signature that verifies that an email message was sent from an authorized mail server. It prevents delivery of spam and harmful emails.

How Does DKIM Work?

Think of it this way: Say you wanted to send your grandmother a letter and you wanted her to know that it was from you and no one else. How would you do that? Well, if grandma was the only one in your life who called you “my little Brussel sprout,” you could sign your letter by saying “Your loving, little Brussels sprout.”

This would be your “public key cryptography” that would tell her that no one else could have written this letter to her. It’s your very own special code language with grandma. Similarly, the DKIM header contains values that allow a receiving mail server to validate the email message by looking up a sender’s encryption key and using it to verify the digital signature.

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC)

DMARC ensures that your messages are properly authenticating against your established SPF and DKIM standards, while also communicating to your supporters’ inboxes what to do with a fraudulent message that appears to come from your domain (such as marking it as Spam, sending it to Junk, or blocking it entirely). DMARC relies on SPF or DKIM setup to provide this final authentication standard.

How do I check if I have SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authentication setup?

There are two ways to verify if you have DMARC, SPF, and DKIM records in place.

If you have a personal Gmail address, find an email from your organization sent to that email. Click the three dots and select “Show Original.” Each record should be marked as “PASS.”

MxToolbox is a free domain scanner that checks these email authentication standards. Enter each domain you use to send bulk emails and it will show you if SPF, DKIM, and DMARC are in place.

If you do not have SPF or DKIM configured already, connect with your email tool’s Support Team to set these up.

You will also need to update your DNS records to connect your domain to any of these authentication methods. Ensure you have login details for your DNS provider and access to the CNAME records, or speak with your IT department to make these updates.

Simplified Unsubscription Processes

As part of these new requirements, senders need to make unsubscribing from emails as easy as possible: one-click unsubscribe with no further emails sent for at least two days. To meet this requirement, emails must include a List-Unsubscribe header, which senders use to add unsubscribe links directly to their interfaces, so you don’t have to dig through fine print to find the unsubscribe link.

Most modern email platforms have List-Unsubscribe headers in place, but contact yours if it is not. We’ve complied our partner platform’s updates on this feature.

Spam-Rate Control

A reported spam rate is the percentage of outgoing messages reported as spam by recipients. Google is saying bulk senders must prevent their reported spam rate from reaching 0.3% or higher to avoid performance issues. These issues can include delays, spam foldering, or bounces.

While 0.3% is the minimum standard, you should instead aim to maintain spam complain levels at less than 0.1% to ensure your emails are successfully delivered. Google and Yahoo have tools to support spam-rate control.

Google Postmaster Tools (GPT) monitors Gmail spam complaints externally, providing insight into your spam rates, domain reputation, delivery errors, and more.

Yahoo Sender Hub uses a Complaint Feedback Loop (CFL) Program that forwards user complaints about emails, which helps identify opportunities to improve how your subscribers respond to your emails.

We’re Here to Help!

If you think your messages aren’t making it to your subscribers’ inboxes, or want help with meeting the new email deliverability requirements,  of digital marketing experts today.

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