CATEGORY: Deliverability

Deep links: What it means for your email deliverability

Deep links: What it means for your email deliverability

It's common knowledge that content is one of the biggest influencers on the deliverability of your email. However, an element in email content that is often disregarded, but plays an integral role in the success of your emails inbox placement is the source of that information; the quality of the links and domains, along with the associated reputation of the websites you are directing subscribers to.

Link quality and its tarnishing impact on your deliverability 

Every domain you link to in your email will have its own reputation. Any time you link to a domain outside of your control, you actively take on deliverability risks. This is because your sender reputation (another major influencer on your deliverability) is partly based on the reputation of your domain.

Therefore, when you link to a site which has a poor domain reputation, your sender reputation will directly be impacted by association. 

Blacklisted domain link analysis

This is not isolated to email content, but similar effects occur with all online linking, including backlinking to other websites – reputation is king!

List of link quality checking sites:

1. Norton SafeWeb

2. Google transparency Report

3. URLVoid

4. Linkody

How deep are your links?

A deep link is where marketers enter dangerous territory in the realm of deliverability.

Deep linking is where a hyperlink is used to link to a specific page on a website or reference a source, rather than directing to a general homepage.

Example of a deep link:

Example of a normal link:

Deep links can make for improved user experience, e.g. by reducing the friction for users between your email and app access. They can also provide valuable attribution for marketers, allowing us to see the source of conversions.

However, although the functionality can be very useful, it is worth taking note that spammers will opt to use obscure deep links in an attempt to bypass official pages. For this reason, deep links are often scrutinised by ISP’s.

Are link shorteners sending you to the spam folder?

Often to shorten the size of deep links marketers will use 3rd party URL shorteners, e.g, This is a great way to improve the aesthetic appearance, usability and reporting of a link. The problem that arises with this technique, is that it is common for spammer to hide a links true content using these programmes.

Without access to the program that shortened the URL, there is no way for the ISP to know the code behind and often cannot trace the hosting domain and simply block the email containing such URLs. This is further why websites like LinkedIn have their own built in URL shortener for users posting content.

Consequently, using links from blacklisted domains will get your email filtered by ISP’s, landing you straight in the spam folder. As I’m sure all email geeks will agree, it’s the last place you want to see your hard work and devotion end up.

Blacklisted third party URL shorteners

Let link worries be a thing of the past 

Our deliverability tool, EmailForensics, has a specific feature which examines the impact on your email deliverability as a result of linking to particular domains. This process will check the quality of the hierarchy of links, examining 6 link layers deep. This allows you to see the full extent to which other domains reputations could impair your inbox placement rates. 


  • Avoid using URL shorteners in email marketing. When linking to external domains, hyperlink a word instead where possible.

  • Check the domains of sites you are linking to against blacklists first

  • Don’t include URLs with multiple redirections

  • Always check a deliverability tool for a full link hierarchy analysis 

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