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If you have been facing decreased traffic to your website and delivery failure to the emails you send out for marketing purposes, you might be confused about what happened. Don't panic; you might be blacklisted!
Don't let that scare you, though. It is not as bad as it seems. Blacklists are there to prevent sites from spamming people, and your legitimate site may have been flagged as a spammer for several reasons.
If you are facing this problem, read this article for tips on dealing with it and a guide on using our free blacklist lookup tool.
An email blacklist is a tool that servers use to filter out emails that it considers to be spam. Blacklists are what keeps away suspicious, fake promotional and fraudulent emails away from your inbox, or else you probably would be inundated by them.
But this also might be why you struggle to reach your intended audience. In severe cases, your domain can be blacklisted as well.
Blacklists trap spam and keep it in the junk/trash folder, which is why blacklisting is also called spam trapping. For the most part, blacklists do a great job of keeping out unwanted emails, but sometimes they filter out emails from well-intentioned email marketers.
This usually happens due to the following traps they fall into:
If multiple typos exist in your contact list, spam traps may assume that your intentions are not good. Although a few typos shouldn't be a problem, if you have too many, your IP may get blacklisted.
An exciting way many blacklists trap spammers is by spreading email addresses that don't exist. Still, if someone sends emails to those addresses, they can safely assume that the addresses were either scraped or bought, which is a common tactic among spammers.
Be careful when emailing dormant email addresses. If emails are constantly bouncing back, they can be flagged as a spam trap address, leading to you being blacklisted.
Certain words can lead to the email being marked as spam if used. These words are primarily promotional words that may have shady requests and promises. You must keep an eye on your copy when writing marketing emails.
Another way you can be blacklisted is if many of your contacts flag your emails as spam, but this can be avoided if you employ proper email etiquette and provide a clear option for them to unsubscribe from your list.
Every blacklist has its own set of criteria for listing IP addresses. The criteria include:
These listings occur due to mail server configuration issues such as missing or incorrect DNS records, missing or incorrect banner greetings, and mail servers operating within a suspicious range of IP addresses.
These occur when the receiving server has prohibited emails from certain countries or ISPs that have a history of ignoring unsubscribe requests.
These are listings where the server has evidence that the IP address sending emails has been involved in spamming or other fraudulent activities.
If your domain gets blacklisted, it can spell disaster for both the promotional and regular emails you send out. When an IP is blacklisted, all outgoing emails to email clients will either be flagged as spam or, worst cases, not even make it to your contact's inbox.
Although this can seem like the end of your email marketing strategy, it doesn't necessarily have to be. There are ways you can remove your name from blacklists, as will be discussed later in this article.
A blacklist checker tool lets you see if your website or IP has been blocked. It is crucial to use this tool as blacklisting will prevent visitors from accessing your site.
A blacklist checker will help you quickly and easily determine if your site has been blacklisted. Hence, you start working on getting it delisted before too much damage to your site or business's reputation takes place.
If you are worried that your IP or domain might be blacklisted you need to use a blacklist lookup tool immediately to confirm and begin your delisting process. Luckily the VISER X Blacklist Lookup tool is free and relatively easy to use.
Below are the steps you need to follow to use the blacklist lookup tool:
After entering your URL and clicking submit, you will receive your result. Your result will show whether or not you are blacklisted among a wide range of blacklists. The tool will also provide you with an overall score as well as provide you with your IP address.
Apart from the traps mentioned earlier, there are a few more reasons your IP or domain may be blacklisted. Remember that each blacklist had different criteria for why the may blacklist a domain as there is no central authority.
Here are a few reasons why your domain may be blacklisted:
There are two main types of blacklists, as discussed below:
DNSBL stands for Domain Name System Blacklist. This blacklist allows administrators to block emails from a specific IP with a previous record of sending spam messages. This list is based on DNS, which converts IP addresses into a domain name.
DNSBL is like the first line of defense. When the person who maintains the blacklist has received a spam email from a particular email previously, they will include that server into its blacklist, and all messages from that server would be either flagged or rejected by all websites that use that particular blacklist's services.
There are many DNSBLs you can use online, and each has its own independent rules and criteria by which they operate.
SURBL is a list of websites that have appeared in spam messages previously. It is the second line of defense, but not all spam filters use this.
Since spammers are becoming smarter every day, it is not feasible to stop every spam email in an inbox. Therefore, SURBL scans an email body for any web links, which will check against blacklists if found. If the emails are found on a blacklist, they are treated as spam.
If your domain is blacklisted you can expect little to no traffic to your site. Search engines will remove you from their results page, and your visibility will plummet. Visitors won't be able to search for your site on Google, and even if they go to your site directly, they will meet with a highly visible banner that warns them of the dangers of your site.
This will lead to your SEO efforts going wholly wasted, and the longer the banner remains, the more damage your reputation will incur. This is especially devastating for small businesses as they can lose over 50% of traffic due to being blacklisted and have to resort to hiring a professional to resubmit their site, which can cause further costs.
Prevention is always better than cure. It is easier to avoid being on a blacklist than to be removed once flagged.
Here are a few ways you can prevent your domain from being blacklisted:
It is best not to email someone without their permission, and although it takes much longer, having an opt-in list will give you a much higher quality contact list as these people have shown they are interested in what you have to say.
When you receive a notification that an email you have sent has bounced or is undeliverable, remove the address you sent it to from your list. The more you message these addresses, the more likely you will be blacklisted.
You should spend some time pruning your contact list and making sure that all the contacts you have don't have any typos in their address, or else you will be sending out unnecessary emails, which can lead you to be blacklisted.
It is always better to build an email list than to buy one. When building a list, you would use safer and usually better tactics. But when you buy, you never know what you'll get. It is also a violation of GDPR.
Since there is a chance of falling into spam traps, verifying each email before sending emails to them should be the best practice. There are many tools online that you can use to verify the authenticity of emails.
If you suspect that your IP has been blacklisted, there are a few steps that you can take to have it removed from the list:
First, you need to confirm whether your IP is blacklisted or not. You can manually monitor listings or use a blacklist lookup tool. You also need to monitor notifications, complaints, spam, and low deliverability levels.
Next, you need to understand the impact the blacklist has on your site and email deliverability. This depends on the specific blacklist you are on. Some may not affect your ability to send emails, while others can block your emails entirely.
After discovering the blacklist you are on, the next step is to act. Most of the time, the blacklist's website will provide clear instructions on proceeding once flagged. Remember to be polite and professional when communicating and show them that you want to resolve the issue immediately.
After completing the steps per the blacklist instructions, you should contact the admin of the blacklist and inform them that you have dealt with the issue on your end. Depending on the blacklist, your site will be delisted automatically or manually after a certain period.
Being blacklisted can be a big hassle, especially if you are a small business, as it can lead to irreparable loss of reputation and business loss. Not to mention the time it will take to resolve the issue and the fact that you may have to hire a professional to handle the process.
However, it is best not to be blacklisted in the first place. If you follow the advice provided in this article, you will be safe for the most part.
If you're ever in doubt about your site's performance and email delivery, you should make a blacklist lookup tool part of your process. The VISER X blacklist lookup tool is a free and easy service you can use anytime and get results instantly!