We've been watching a bit of juicy web gossip spread like wildfire today. It's set off alarm bells for folks using email marketing as well as the companies that provide email marketing services. It all started with a blog post by Jake Ludington that described his website's recent SEO ranking issues. He received a tip from "someone at Google" that new algorithms involving email reputation were in play. Jake surmised that a large number of non-responsive Gmail recipients on his email newsletter list were causing reputation problems that began to affect his Google rankings. His advice to combat the issue is to regularly purge unresponsive recipients from email marketing lists.
Here's the interesting part. The head of Google's Webspam team, Matt Cutts, quickly and rather decisively debunked Jake's theory in the blog's comments section. Matt explained that search rankings and email domain reputation are not linked. That hasn't stopped the rumor from spreading rather rapidly and igniting discussions about list cleanliness and Google's ever-changing reach.
To be sure, we're big proponents of keeping your list up-to-date. A regular review of your list and removal of non-responsive recipients can only help your reputation as a legitimate sender. While it might not affect your SEO rankings, it does reflect on your organization's reputation and helps keep your response rates high.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the issue. The post is still being shared via social networks and it's not clear that people are taking the time to read through to the comments. What do you think about the way the rumor spread online? Has Google done enough to put people at ease? Any other take-aways from the story?