Until now, email marketing hasn’t had a direct connection to a website’s rankings on search engines. Well, there’s the indirect link – newsletters and emails – that can connect the business to potential linkers and buyers who will then share the new resources on your site, which could improve your site’s ranking.
This was true until a few days ago, when Google finally received a patent they filed over three years ago, in March 2012. The patent, called “Email spam and junk mail as a vendor reliability signal” is intended to use consumer emails to determine the reliability of an online vendor.
How the scheme will work
The patent will use analysis of one or more groups of undesirable emails in users’ mailboxes to determine just how often a particular vendor’s emails occur in the pile. This provides a reliability indicator which will be transmitted to a remote application that will use it to assess a vendor’s reliability to search results purposes.
In essence, Google can now use email signals such as users’ spam folders to determine a vendor’s reliability, which could certainly change things. But, how, exactly would that work?
Who is a vendor?
According to the patent’s description, a vendor may be basically someone with an online presence who intends to be found by users through search results e.g. online retailers. Now, if users receive a high number of spam emails from any one vendor, this may negatively indicate rankings, which is a fair supposition: honest and reliable vendors won’t spam users/accounts.
The patent description also details a number of methods that may be used to determine whether or not a vendor is reliable. Most involve the use of multiple lists and systems to analyse and generate reports on the frequency with which one vendor sends emails regarded by users as spammy, and hence grouping them as being more unreliable based on the number of times they send spammy mail.
In conclusion, the patent is more than just about email filtering. Vendor characteristics will be detected by analyzing these spammy emails for specific vendor attributes like e-address, full or partial domain names, URLs, etc., or images and names (full or partial) associated with the vendor’s website, emails or any other aspect of their online presence.
As has once again been proven, the world of SEO is big, and constantly changing. The only security a business owner has is investing in honest, above-board methods to promote their business. All gray-hat techniques will soon be caught up with.