You too may also be wondering why your incoming emails go into spam, right? Well, you don’t need to worry anymore! For one thing, in this elaborate guide, we’ll discuss some of the key reasons why your incoming emails are ending up in spam. We’ll also discuss some ways to fix such cases — plus actionable tips to make sure your emails get to your recipients’ inboxes.
Of course, these basic reasons and tips will apply to everyone — whether you’re just a solo person sending emails from your personal account or you’re dealing with deliverability issues. Particularly, when it comes all down to your marketing emails or transactional website emails (like order confirmations). So, stay with us till the end to read and learn more.
Suffice it to say, you’ve all sent an email, at some point, only to have it detoured to the recipient’s spam folder, right? And, as such, you might even find yourselves yelling at the computer screen from time to time. It’s quite a frustrating situation — you sent an important email, but your recipient(s) probably won’t see it, obviously, because of one or two reasons, per se.
Let’s be honest, how often do people really check their spam folders? According to Statista, more than half of all emails are spam. Needless to say, email spam is a big problem on the Internet. And, that’s why most email services such as Gmail by Google have gotten more aggressive in efforts to combat spam.
What An Email Account Spam Attack Entails
Spam attacks on various email carriers are quite common — we’ll focus our discussion on Gmail accounts. Whereby, you’ll get a lot of unwanted emails, such as subscriptions or promotional offers. Herein, a hacker will always try to fill up your Inbox.
So that you can’t find important security alerts from websites or services you signed up for with your Gmail account. For example, if a hacker tries to get into your bank account, your bank can notify you by email. But, if your Inbox is full of junk mail, you might miss the bank’s alert. If you see such warnings in your Gmail account, there are a few things to do.
First, you should try to search your Inbox and Spam for any security alerts. And then, respond to the emails you find. Secondly, the next thing is to do a Google Security Checkup or even follow these security tips just to be sure you are safe.
Equally important, someone on your Contacts List can also send you spam — if a hacker may have taken over their account. Just to be safe, make sure that you do not respond to such emails from unknown or untrustful senders (or even by mistake).
Related Resource: Google Workspace Marks Valid Email Messages As Spam
To report the email, in the spam alert, click the ‘Message Looks Suspicious‘ option. As a result, this sends a report to the Gmail team to further investigate the origin of the spam message.
You’ll continue to get emails from this contact in the future. Eventually, you may suggest that your contact follow these Gmail Security Tips, especially, after letting them know that there is an ongoing hack on their email account. This is one of the fastest ways to prevent any further email account damage.
With that in mind, in this first section, we’ll discuss the main reasons why emails go into spam. So, before we move forward, below are some of the other most common email warnings to know about. In addition to what they mean, and what to do.
1. Marked Emails
In general, Marked Emails are mostly the end results of Administrator-set policies. For instance, if you use Gmail through your work, school, or organization, your admin might set controls to mark certain emails as spam. This means, that if you see emails that are incorrectly marked as spam, you should contact your admin immediately.
So that they can rectify the issue for you right away. By the same token, if someone messages you after you unsubscribe from their emails, their messages will go directly into the spam box. Fortunately, if you don’t want these emails sent to Spam, you can unmark the email as spam through the basic option settings tab.
2. Unconfirmed Messages
Sometimes, you may also get a few messages from an unconfirmed sender in either your inbox or even your spam box. This warning means that Gmail can’t confirm that the email was actually sent by the sender who appears to have sent it. Meaning, that if you see this warning, do not reply to the email or open any links.
Or else, report the email as phishing — that’s if you are unsure that the email is from a trustworthy sender. You may also come across some messages that you sent to your spam folder without knowing.
3. Empty Content
The next item on the list to consider is when the message-bearing content is empty. Bearing in mind, that most spammers often send messages with no content in the body or subject. In particular, to check whether email addresses are valid. And then, they’ll start spamming those email addresses later. In this case, if the email looks suspicious, do not reply.
Otherwise, you can report it as spam or phishing just like the other cases. What if you make some common mistakes? Well, your legitimate emails could also get swept up into the spam box. The solution is to unmark the email as spam if you don’t want to see your emails go into spam boxes.
4. Spoofed Emails
A Spoofed Email Address looks very similar to the email address of a known sender. For example, the email address may replace the letter “O” with the number “0.” Important to realize, that if you notice a spoofed email address, but it’s not marked with a warning, be sure to report it as spam to Google. Do not reply to the email or open any related links.
Not until you can verify that the email address is correct. Above all, you can also filter these messages to stop them from being sent into the spam folder as spoofed emails in the future.
5. Phishing Scams
Technically, Phishing Scams are sort of emails that may be a trick to get you to share personal information, like passwords or credit card numbers. Do not reply to such an email or open any related links. The best thing here is to report the email as phishing if you aren’t sure the email is from a trusted sender. You can also unmark the message as phishing as well.
That’s if you mistakenly reported the message as phishing. Always remember, that Google will never ask for personal information over email. You can read and learn more about how to avoid and report Google phishing scams in detail.
The Other Common Reasons Why Emails Go Into Spam Box
There are many reasons why Emails Go Into Spam or, otherwise, get filtered to spam boxes. One is that they are just spam! Perse, most people would go mad if they had to manually filter through all of these emails. So, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Free Email Services (like Gmail) set up filters to automatically block spam emails before they reach the inbox.
Thus, the presence of emails with spam warning labels. In that case, Gmail identifies suspicious emails and marks them as spam automatically. When you open your Spam label, you’ll see emails that were marked as spam by you or Gmail. Each email will include a label at the top that explains why Gmail sent it to Spam.
When you mark a message as spam or phishing, it’s moved from your Inbox to your spam box folder. Such that all messages from the same sender will be sent into the spam box in the future. Sometimes, you may make some common mistakes without even knowing so. Whereby, your legitimate emails will also get swept up right into the spam box.
(1): Not Setting Up Proper Authentication Frameworks
One of the biggest issues with email spam is lacking proper authentication. Think of when people call you on the phone:
- One: If you see it’s someone from your contacts, you’ll pick right up because you know exactly who’s calling.
- Two: If you see a random number, you might assume it’s another robocall and just ignore it.
The same case applies to email messages. There are technologies that you can use to authenticate your emails which will automatically make you look more trustworthy in the eyes of spam filters. Instead of being a random number, you’ve proven who you are and that you actually control the domain name that you’re sending from.
The biggest tactics include:
- DKIM (DomainKey Identified Mail)
- SPF (Sender Policy Framework)
- DMARC (it requires you to already be using DKIM and SPF)
If you’re using a custom email address and you haven’t set up these authentication methods, that’s one of the biggest reasons why your emails are going to spam. Later in this post, we’ll show you what you need to do.
(2): Inaccurate/Missing Sender Info & Without Proper Punctuation
In addition to lacking technical authentication tactics like DKIM and SPF, inaccurate sender information can also cause:
- Inaccurate From/Reply-To info – make sure the email address that you’re sending from matches the sender and your authentication information.
- Lack of physical address – the FTC requires that you add a physical address to your bulk emails. This is why you’ll typically see an address at the bottom of every marketing email.
You may also be using words or punctuation that are spam triggers. Put simply, there are just some words or punctuation patterns that seem spammy. For example, “meet singles” or “online biz opportunity”.
By themselves, these words might not be enough to land you in the spam filter. But they will attract attention and, when combined with some of the other issues on the list, can end up with your emails going to spam.
Other tactics are:
- All CAPITALS (Screaming)
- Lots of exclamation marks!!!!!!
- An onslaught of emojis (a few emojis are ok – just don’t abuse them)
Similarly, using poor grammar or misspelling words can also trigger spam filters. Simply, because many spammers use machine translation to translate their spam emails into English.
(3): Using Bad Email Lists, Linking To Shady Websites & Misleading Links
If you’re sending bulk emails to a list of subscribers, there are a few things that can get you into hot water:
- No permission – if you didn’t receive explicit opt-in from subscribers, that can lead to spam issues.
- Stale list – if your list contains lots of inactive/disabled email accounts where emails bounce, that looks spammy to filters.
- Low engagement – if your emails have very low open rates, ISPs might take this as a sign that your subscribers don’t want your emails. Whilst, increasing the chances of the list getting marked as spam.
Always remember, that the main purpose of most spam emails is to get you to click on some type of link. So, it’s no surprise that using the wrong types of links can get you in trouble when it comes to spam.
There are two main cause issues here:
First, you might be linking to a website that seems spammy for some reason. For example, maybe it’s associated with copyright infringement, has been infected with malware, or some other reason. Or, maybe it’s totally legit, but it’s very close to another domain that is spammy.
Second, you can get in trouble if the destination URL doesn’t match the display URL. For example, if the display URL is
https://google.com but the actual link is
https://anotherwebsite.com, that can get you into trouble because this is a common tactic that spammers use to trick people into clicking links.
Similarly, using URL shorteners can also cause issues for the same reason (you might be trying to trick people into clicking links they might not otherwise click on).
(4): Using Too Many Images (Not Enough Text With Images)
Images can also get you into trouble with spam filters. There are two ways that this can happen. First off, if you have a large image in your email and little to no text, that can trigger spam filters. This one ties to the “spam words” point from above. To avoid getting hit with spam filters for using spammy words, some spammers include all of the text in a single image file.
Rather than as actual text. Because of this, sending a single image looks suspicious to spam filters. You can also run into problems in the other direction, though. If you use a lot of images and very little text, that can also get you into trouble. Basically, using images as a replacement for text can get you into trouble, don’t do that!
On the same note, you may also be sending too many attachments. Because attachments are used for distributing malware or other malicious activities, they’re always going to attract attention from spam filters. Especially certain file types like .exe.
(5): Your Recipients Marking Emails As Spam (Maybe Accidentally)
In many email clients, users have an option to manually mark emails as spam. If the person you’re trying to email previously marked your emails as spam, new emails that you send will also likely end up in the spam folder as well. Additionally, too many people marking your emails as spam can negatively affect your reputation as a sender.
More so, if you’re sending out bulk emails. This can increase the chances of your emails ending up in spam even when you send them to people who didn’t mark you as spam. When you manually mark a message as not spam, Gmail learns how to manage messages addressed to you. It uses machine learning to better understand your preferences and recognize spam.
And, if it identifies a message as potentially suspicious, it can reject or send it to spam, even if the sender is in your allowlist. Sometimes, even an email carrier such as Gmail incorrectly marks messages coming from senders outside your domain as spam. As an administrator, try the simple steps in this article to fix the problem — to prevent it from happening again.
The Simple Steps To Fix Emails From Getting Into Spam Box
First of all, for a Gmail user, you can unmark the email as spam if you think the email is from someone you know or if you think it was sent by mistake. Forthwith, if you’re sure the message is from a sender that you trust: At the top, click on the ‘Not Spam‘ option. Secondly, follow these troubleshooting steps to prevent messages from a known sender from going into spam.
Also, encourage other people in your organization to mark incorrectly classified messages as not spam. The other method is to add trusted senders to your personal contacts list. Users in your domain can manage their personal contacts list. When a user adds an external address to their contacts list, Gmail won’t mark messages from the external address as spam.
In the same fashion, you should also add trusted senders to the spam bypass filter as well. Create an allowlist by adding domains or addresses to a list of senders that bypass Gmail spam filters. Messages from domains or email addresses in your spam filter are more likely to be delivered to users’ inboxes. There are also other actions for external senders to take.
As an example, you can start by telling your trusted customers, suppliers, and other parties to authenticate their sent emails. Google recommends using some of the following email authentication standards for external senders. Markedly, we recommend that you always set up these email authentication methods right on, particularly for your domain.
The main best practices for email authentication:
- SPF lets servers verify that messages from a particular domain are sent from servers authorized by the domain owner
- DKIM adds a digital signature to every message for receiving servers to verify they aren’t forged or changed in transit
- DMARC enforces SPF and DKIM authentication, and lets admins get reports about message authentication and delivery
For detailed steps, you can go to the help prevent spoofing, phishing, and spam section to learn more. Similarly, it’s also good that you also follow the key Gmail bulk sender guidelines. As well as the best ways to optimize the delivery of large email volumes from Gmail or third-party senders. (How to prevent mail to Gmail users from being blocked or sent to spam).
Now that you know what might be going wrong, let’s get into some more actionable tips you can implement to keep your emails out of the spam filter. As well as to improve email deliverability and avoid the spam folder.
Step #1: Using A Mail Tester To Spot Issues
Mail Tester is an awesome free tool to spot technical issues with email deliverability. All you need to do is as follows:
- Go to Mail Tester
- Send an email to the address that it gives (from the email account where you’re having spam issues).
- If you’re having issues with a specific email, make sure to use the same text/images/links in your email.
- Click the Then check your score button.
- View the analysis.
Mail Tester will give you an overall score along with some suggestions to improve. You can even expand each section for more details. If your score is very low, usually all you need to do is implement the suggestions to improve your deliverability.
Step #2: Setting Up A Proper Authentication Rule
As the Internet has evolved, spam filters are putting more weight on the overall sender’s reputation rather than just the content of your emails. The content of your emails still matters.
But, someone with a sterling reputation might be able to get away with some spam-adjacent content that a sender with a poor reputation can’t. One of the best ways to improve your reputation is to make sure you’re properly authenticating your emails with methods like DKIM and SPF. If you’re using a free service like Gmail, you don’t need to worry about this.
This only applies if you’re using a custom email address like [email protected]. Above all, you can set up these authentication methods by adding TXT records to your domain’s DNS management. Moreover, you can get the records that you need from your email hosting service. Try searching the help documentation for “SPF” or “DKIM.”
Or rather, ask the support team for help if you can’t find it. Then, add those records to the domain name via the DNS editor.
You’ll do this:
- Via your web host’s dashboard if you’re using your host’s nameservers
- Via your domain registrar if you’re not using your host’s nameservers
Step #3: Using A Dedicated Website Sending Service
If you’re having spam issues with the emails that you send from your website, a great way to avoid problems is to use a dedicated email-sending service (AKA SMTP provider) rather than trying to send from your host’s SMTP server. This is especially true for WordPress sites. The default method that WordPress uses to send emails is almost certainly spammy.
Thus, it’s going to end up with your emails in spam folders a large percentage of the time. Don’t worry! For a small site, you can find sending services that are 100% free. Usually, you’ll be fine on the free tier for up to ~300 emails per day. You can check out this post that collects the best SMTP providers for websites. However, we recommend Sendinblue for beginners.
Because it’s super easy to set up with a WordPress website and includes a generous free plan. You should also authenticate your domain name with Sendinblue to further improve deliverability.
Step #4: Following Email Design/Copy Best Practices
Once you’ve properly authenticated your emails, you’ll already be well on your way to avoiding the spam folder. However, don’t forget the many designs and copy signs that we talked about. And then, follow some of these smart moves:
- Don’t abuse images – don’t rely on a single large image or lots of small images. Use text/HTML instead of including everything in images.
- Avoid spammy copy – don’t use spammy words, avoid spelling/grammar issues, and don’t abuse punctuation/emojis.
- Avoid unnecessary attachments – don’t send attachments unless they’re absolutely necessary.
- Make sure to add sender information – for marketing emails, make sure to include your physical address and accurate sender information.
- Only link to reputable sites – don’t do anything that could be construed as “tricking” people into clicking links that they didn’t intend to visit.
Step #5: Start Maintaining Your Subscribers List Properly
If you’re sending emails to lists of subscribers, you’ll also want to:
- Make sure your subscribers explicitly opt-in.
- Periodically clean your list of dead/unengaged accounts.
- Give subscribers a clear option to unsubscribe.
Chiefly, if all else fails, you can always ask your recipients to whitelist your email address to avoid your emails going to spam. You’ll see even big brands asking subscribers to whitelist their emails. So, this actually isn’t an uncommon strategy. To make it easier for people, you can create a help doc that shows them how to whitelist your email address as well.
Step #6: Get Started With Google Workspace For Business
Having your emails end up in people’s spam folders is frustrating. But after reading this post, you should have the knowledge to understand why your emails are going to spam and fix the problem(s). In most cases, there are two biggest things to do: To properly authenticate your emails. Or using a dedicated sending service for your website’s emails.
That’s if you’re not already using such a toolkit. Beyond that, you’ll also want to avoid spammy copy, properly use links and images, and make sure your subscribers are engaged and opted-in. And, as a business, that’s why you also need to start your free Google Workspace trial today to stay safe, work remotely, and even do more than you can ever imagine.
Do more with Google Workspace For Business today — work remotely with confidence! For example, you’ll be able to use Google Meet to host secure, high-quality video meetings — right from your email or calendar. Not to mention, you’ll also get an array of professional email tools, online cloud storage, video meetings, shared documents, shared calendars, etc.
Why Google Workspace?
- A custom email with your domain
- It’s cloud-based, no installation is needed
- Advanced security and admin features
- No charge for the 14-day trial, the monthly charge after
- Ease of mind with 24/7 customer support
That’s it! Some reasons and answers as to why emails go into spam plus a few simple steps to get you sorted. So far, what is your experience with emails going into spam box folders? Well, you can let us know about this. In addition to other similar opinions, thoughts, suggestions, recommendations, or even questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments sections.
Finally, if you’ll need more help, you can always Consult Us and let us know how we can sort you out. Not forgetting, you can also Donate in order to support what we do as well as motivate our Creative Blog Writers for their good work. All in all, don’t also forget to spread the word by sharing this guide with other readers like yourself. Thanks for your time. See you soon!