Email SEO: How Do You Combine Email Marketing and SEO?

Email SEO cover image

You’ve been at this for almost a year now — collecting email addresses, crafting newsletters, and writing blog posts. But the results are underwhelming: your emails are overlooked, and your website isn’t attracting the traffic you hoped for.

It’s frustrating, for sure, but you’re not ready to throw in the towel. You’re looking for a strategy to bring all your efforts together. 

So, the question is: What does that strategy look like? 

Let’s try and answer that. We’ll explore how combining SEO with email marketing can amplify your digital marketing efforts and bring the results you’re looking for.

What Is the Difference Between SEO and Email Marketing?

SEO and email marketing are two different tools in your digital marketing toolbox. Both strategies help you grow your business, but they work in different ways.

Email marketing focuses on engaging and nurturing people who already know your business. On the other hand, SEO’s goal is to attract new audiences by making your website show up higher in the search results when people search relevant phrases on Google.

Email marketing often yields quicker results, and the ROI is easier to measure in the short term. Conversely, SEO is a long-term strategy with benefits accruing over time.

Let’s look at a table that highlights the differences: 

AspectEmail MarketingSEO
Distribution channelEmail systemsWeb pages
Target AudienceKnown contacts who have opted in to receive emails.New audience searching for relevant content.
Communication TypeDirect and personal communication with subscribers.Indirect communication to attract visitors via search engines.
ControlHigh control over content, audience, and timing.Limited control, reliant on search engine algorithms.
Content FocusPersonalized and targeted based on subscriber data.Optimized for relevance to search queries and user experience.
Success MetricsOpen rates, click-through rates, conversion rates.Organic traffic, keyword rankings, domain authority.
ROIImmediate and measurable impact on engagement and sales.Long-term, sustainable impact on website traffic.
StrategyShort-term campaigns and ongoing communication.Long-term, ongoing optimization efforts.
Technical AspectsEmail design, deliverability, and responsiveness.Website structure, content, and technical SEO elements.
Comparing the key differences between email marketing and SEO

Email Marketing: Making Sure Messages Reach and Resonate with Your Audience

The foundation of email marketing is deliverability, making sure your emails actually reach the inboxes of your subscribers. Your emails won’t have any impact if your audience never sees them, even if the content and design are perfect. 

Beyond deliverability, the three key strategies of successful email marketing are: 

  • Segmentation involves dividing your contact list into smaller, specific groups based on demographics, behavior, purchase history, or other criteria. An effective segmentation strategy lets you send more targeted and relevant messages, which can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Personalization tailors the email content to individual subscribers based on their preferences, past interactions, and behavior. It makes your emails more relevant and engaging to each recipient to improve your interaction metrics and build relationships.
  • Automation uses software to send out emails at pre-set times or in response to specific actions by the recipient. This way, your communications stay consistent. Automated emails help you scale your email marketing without sacrificing personalization or increasing your workload significantly. 

SEO: Making Your Website a Go-To Resource for Customers

With SEO, you want to make your website appealing to people who search online for topics relevant to your business or industry. 

To do this, you need to publish helpful content that answers questions, provides solutions, and offers valuable insights to your audience. You also need to make sure your website has a solid technical base and holds a strong reputation. 

SEO practices fall into three categories:

  • On-page SEO focuses on making each page on your website easy to find and understand by both search engines and people. It includes writing great content, using words people are searching for, and making sure each page is set up correctly.
  • Technical SEO is about making sure your website works well and is easy for search engines to understand. It covers making your site load fast, look good on smartphones, and fixing any technical problems.
  • Off-page SEO is about improving your website’s reputation and authority by connecting with other websites. This mostly involves getting reputable websites to link to your site and building a good social media presence.

Content: Where Email Marketing Meets SEO 

Setting the technical differences aside, your email marketing and SEO content has to deliver enough value to spark trust and build loyalty. How? Through relevance. 

Focus on what your audience wants and needs to hear, not just what you want to say. Tailor your content to their interests, challenges, and desires. Answer questions, solve problems, and provide information that your target audience needs.

In email marketing, go beyond promotions and company news. For SEO, create genuinely useful and informative content that’s also search engine-friendly, but don’t make Google your top priority. Serve your audience instead. 

The intersection between SEO and email marketing 
The intersection between SEO and email marketing 

How Email Marketing Can Help SEO

While email campaigns don’t directly impact SEO, they can indirectly contribute to improving rankings.

Here’s how:

Email Marketing Drives Targeted Traffic to Your Website 

Include links to valuable blog posts or landing pages within email campaigns to encourage users to visit your website. 

But don’t just send the same content to your entire email list. Tailor it to fit the unique interests of different segments. By doing so, you boost click-through rates and engagement, drawing in more visitors who are genuinely interested in what you offer.

This targeted approach leads to multiple key benefits:

  1. A surge in website visits: Targeted content grabs attention. So, subscribers click through, and your website traffic goes up. Search engines notice consistently high traffic and will give your website a higher priority. 
  2. Lower bounce rate: When content is relevant, visitors stick around and browse more of your content. 
  3. More content getting shared: High-quality email content gets forwarded and posted on social media, which means stronger off-page SEO signals for your website. 
  4. A boost in sign-ups or sales: When visitors find the content that speaks to them, they’re more likely to sign up or buy what you’re selling.

Email Marketing Promotes E-E-A-T 

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a concept Google uses to decide if your website gives visitors the kind of information they can rely on. You can think of it as your website’s reputation for being credible and reliable. 

E-E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor, but it has a huge indirect impact on your rankings. And demonstrating it takes effort. 

How can email marketing help? 

When you send out newsletters with helpful tips or deep dives into topics you know well, you consistently prove your expertise. 

Email marketing can enhance trustworthiness and authoritativeness, too. Trust is the result of consistent, truthful communication, and email is perfect for this. When you include verified facts, respected sources, and avoid spammy tactics, you’re ticking the boxes for trustworthiness. 

If your emails lead users to well-researched, accurate content on your site, you provide value and signal to search engines that your site is an authoritative source.

And if your subscribers share your content or mention it elsewhere online, that builds your authority and puts you in a good position as the go-to source in your field.

Improves Your Rankings Through Brand Building 

Google favors familiar brands, just like people do. Over 80 percent of searchers click on known brands first. That’s why Google picks up on various signals to rank trusted brands higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).

If you want users to recognize your brand in the search results, you need: 

  1. Clear brand messaging: Communicate your brand’s message clearly in every interaction.
  2. Distinct visual identity: Stand out with a distinctive look that captures your brand’s spirit.
  3. Repeated exposure: Regular, positive touchpoints with your brand build trust and lead to customer loyalty. 

Email is the perfect channel to keep your brand in your customers’ minds without being intrusive.

Your subscribers opt-in to receive your emails, so make sure you stay memorable and distinctive with these elements: 

  • Branded emails: Use a template with your brand colors.
  • Visible branding: Place your logo where it’s seen but not distracting.
  • Contact information and social links: Show you’re a legitimate business in every email.
  • Smart sending: Send emails frequently but don’t overwhelm your subscribers. 

As your brand becomes more familiar through email, people might start searching for you directly. This tells search engines your brand is relevant to users, which will likely give your SEO a boost. 

Email Marketing Generates Engagement Signals for Fresh Content 

Fresh content is essential for a dynamic and current website, but it often takes time to rank. For example, if you’re just starting your SEO and you’re in a competitive market, you might have to stay consistent for months before your content gets visibly picked up. 

While Google is assessing and ranking your fresh content, share it with your email subscribers. 

This way, you can get instant engagement signals and improve your content if it needs tweaking. 

Here’s what to track and where: 

MetricDefinitionHow to track
Time on pageMeasures how long visitors stay on your new content.SEO analytics 
Bounce rateThe percentage of visitors who leave after viewing just the shared page.SEO analytics 
Page viewsThe number of times your new content is viewed.SEO analytics 
User feedbackDirect comments or replies about the content.Email marketing platform
Social sharesTracks how often your content is shared on social media.Both 
Click-Through Rate (CTR)The percentage of email recipients clicking the content link.Email marketing platform
Conversion rateThe rate at which visitors complete a desired action.Both 
Key metrics for evaluating fresh content shared through email.

Email Marketing Provides Insight Into User Preferences 

The average response rate of email surveys is around 25%. That’s why email marketing campaigns are great opportunities to gather user feedback. 

You can send surveys or polls to discover more about user preferences, pain points, and interests. 

User feedback can highlight gaps in your content. For example, if many users are confused about a topic or product feature, it’s a cue to create content and share it on your website. This way, you improve the user experience and position your site as a helpful resource, which search engines love. 

How SEO Can Help Email Marketing

SEO can amplify your email marketing by growing your list and making your content more relevant to your audience. Let’s explore these benefits in detail. 

SEO Attracts New Subscribers 

Content that ranks well in search engines helps you attract traffic to your site. Once visitors land on your website and read your content, you can encourage them to sign up for your email list to get more of your content. 

Put sign-up forms on your high-traffic pages and make sure they load correctly on mobile devices. 

You can offer discounts or free ebooks, whitepapers, or webinars in exchange for an email address. These lead magnets encourage more people to sign up. 

Implement a double opt-in process where you ask the visitor to confirm their email before receiving the offer. This way, you’ll make sure email addresses are valid and subscribers are genuinely interested in hearing from you. 

Keyword Research Generates Subject Line and Email Content Ideas

A keyword is a term or phrase that users type into search engines when they’re looking for information. It encapsulates the essence of a topic.

Keywords offer clues about user intentions, needs, and interests. For example, a search for “cloud storage solutions” reveals a need for digital storage options and information security. 

This understanding translates beautifully into email marketing. The same keywords let you understand what your subscribers are interested in or concerned about. This knowledge is gold for crafting email subject lines. 

Monitor which keywords are driving the most traffic to your site. Use these high-performing keywords in your email subject lines and content to increase open rates and engagement.

For example, if keyword research discovers a high interest in “data security in cloud storage,” an email subject line like “Top 5 Data Security Features for Your Cloud Storage” directly addresses this interest. These subject lines stand out because they speak the subscriber’s language and clearly signal that the email contains valuable, industry-relevant information.

You can also tailor the email content based on keyword insights. Continuing with the previous example, the email can offer concise, actionable tips on enhancing data security in cloud storage solutions. This way, you create a sense of personalization and signal that you understand your subscriber’s needs. 

SEO Analytics Inform Email Marketing Strategy

When you monitor your SEO metrics, you can discover patterns and trends that inform your email marketing strategy.

Average time on a page and bounce rate signal what holds your audience’s attention. For example, if users spend a lot of time on pages with in-depth guides or tutorials, you can conclude a preference for detailed, informative content. Then, you can integrate this style into composing your email newsletters to increase engagement. 

Trend analysis is another way SEO data can enhance your email marketing strategy. Track industry hot topics to create relevant and timely emails. This proactive approach ensures that your email content addresses your audience’s interests and needs. 

Here’s a table to help you understand how SEO and email metrics align:

SEO MetricInsight GainedEmail Marketing Application
Average time on pageIndicates content that engages users.Develop email content mirroring the style and topics of engaging web pages.
Bounce rateShows user interest levels.Identify topics with lower bounce rates to focus on in emails.
Trending keywordsReveals current user interests.Use these keywords in email subject lines and content to ensure relevance.
Page viewsHighlights popular content.Feature similar content types or topics in email campaigns.
Conversion rates from SEOShows what content leads to actions.Adapt email CTAs and content themes based on what works on the website.
Referral sourcesIndicates how users find your site.Align email content with these sources for a cohesive cross-platform strategy.
Connecting SEO metrics with email marketing strategies


Repurpose Newsletter Content as Blog Posts

Turning newsletters into blog posts is a powerful strategy that creates a synergy between SEO and email marketing: 

People who discover your newsletter content through search engines may sign up for your email list, while existing subscribers are more likely to visit your website if it appears in their search results. 

This cross-channel promotion increases your content’s reach and strengthens your online presence. Plus, you’ll have more content in your library and more chances to attract traffic. 

How to Repurpose Newsletters for SEO

The easiest solution is to publish the same email content on your website. But that leaves a lot of SEO potential on the table. A better approach is to adapt the format to SEO content using keywords, internal links, and headings. 

We recommend following these steps: 

  1. Select content: Choose newsletter pieces that are evergreen, popular, or informative. Content that loses its relevance in a few weeks or months isn’t a good candidate for SEO. 
  2. Adapt the format: Modify the layout for web readability, adding headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
  3. Update and expand: Refresh any outdated information and add additional content to provide more depth. Unlike email content, which has to be short, SEO content must be comprehensive. 
  4. Incorporate keywords: Integrate keywords naturally throughout the post.
  5. Insert internal links: Add links to related content on your website to keep readers engaged and improve SEO.
  6. Optimize your metadata: Make sure your meta descriptions, title tags, and URLs are SEO-optimized.
  7. Publish and promote: Publish the post on your blog and promote it through social media and other channels.

Practical Email SEO Examples

Now, let’s go over a couple of interesting examples to help you see the tactics in action. 

Campaign Refinery: Share Your Blog Posts 

One of the best ways to integrate SEO and email marketing is to link to your blog content in your emails. These links will drive traffic to your site and let subscribers engage with your content on a deeper level. 

Here’s an example from our own email marketing efforts.
At Campaign Refinery, we’re big on email deliverability and avoiding the spam folder. 

And with big changes coming in 2024, we knew that our subscribers needed more information on how to get their complaint rates down. So, as soon as we published our blog post on email recovery, our founder and email expert, Travis Ketchum, shared it with our email list. 

Sharing Campaign Refinery’s blog posts with our email list 
Sharing Campaign Refinery’s blog posts with our email list 

Sharing important blog updates has been an effective strategy for us to reinforce our role as a valuable resource for our subscribers. 

World Builders: Engaging CTAs

CTAs aren’t just about writing “Click Here.” You need to create compelling, action-oriented language that aligns with your audience’s interests and provides clear value. 

By combining keyword research and a bit of creativity, you can do wonders in your email SEO campaigns. 

Check out this example from World Builders, a weekly newsletter about storytelling and AI. Notice how the CTA isn’t a simple button and that it mentions the keyword “writing fiction with AI.” 

An email CTA that uses the keyword “writing fiction with AI”
An email CTA that uses the keyword “writing fiction with AI”

If you search this keyword on Google’s Keyword Planner, you’ll see that the phrase and its variations receive thousands of monthly clicks, which means there’s a lot of interest in the topic. The newsletter manages to capture some of that reader interest by dropping the keyword in its CTA. 

Google Keyword Planner’s results for “writing fiction with AI”
Google Keyword Planner’s results for “writing fiction with AI”

Integrate Email Marketing and SEO Strategies With Campaign Refinery 

At Campaign Refinery, we offer a robust platform to support your integrated email marketing and SEO efforts. 

  1. With our flexible email editor, you can easily format your emails to line up with SEO best practices. So, you can create content once and use it everywhere. 
  2. You can drive targeted traffic back to your site and engage your audience with content they care about most. Our advanced Branch & Rule editor lets you create workflows that respond to subscriber interactions. 
  3. You won’t run out of ideas with our library of pre-designed campaign templates. We help you set up your campaigns quickly and keep them running smoothly.

We’re here to back your email marketing campaigns with tools that complement your SEO strategy. 

Excited about syncing your SEO and email marketing with ease? We’re keen to see if we’re a match!

Apply to join the elite cohort of Campaign Refinery’s clients. 

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