How to Get Email Delivered to Gmail | How Gmail Filters

Chris Arrendale

2 minute read

How to Get Email Delivered to Gmail | How Gmail Filters


Getting email delivered to Gmail depends on how Gmail filters its mail. The first step is performing your own deliverability test; send out an email, and see how many are being delivered to Gmail. I’m sure you’re wondering what Gmail looks for when processing inbox placement, right? One aspect Gmail looks at in an email is its double opt-in/confirmed opt-in history. This is when someone signs up for emails and then has to verify that their information is correct. Therefore, it’s a great idea to have an “add to address book” section or any confirmation CTA that a recipient will click on in the first email. This button helps you pass spam filters a lot faster because it is similar to a personal whitelist for the user.

Gmail focuses heavily on recipient engagement. Therefore, keeping list hygiene is important. If you are sending to old lists, your engagement will be lowered, Gmail will count it against you, and your email deliverability test will show it. Avoid URL shorteners, such as Bitly; however, ESPs provide some URL shorteners that are fine to use.

Use a list-unsubscribe link in the header. Gmail also looks for DKIM authentication and is leading the charge for DMARC with Microsoft. Gmail has a postmaster tools website where you can view the reputation of your IPs and Domains.

What Gmail Looks for

  • Double Opt-in or Confirmed Opt-in
  • Recipient Engagement: click-throughs, starring messages, moving emails into folders
  • List Hygiene
  • URL Shorteners: avoid
  • Use of a List-unsubscribe Header
  • DKIM and DMARC Authentication
  • Use of Sub-domains
  • Domain Registration: Gmail’s classifier (spam filter) checks the WHOIS for this. If it is hidden, your trust level gets knocked way down


If you’re having deliverability issues, or would like to get a diagnosis, contact one of our deliverability experts.

Trendline Interactive

Ready to send better messages?

About the Author(s)

Chris Arrendale

Founder of Inbox Pros (acquired by Trendline in July of 2018). Author of Deliverability Inferno. Certified expert and frequent speaker on the topics of data privacy, deliverability and compliance. BA in Poli-Sci/Soc from Emory, MS in Software Engineering & IT from Southern Polytechnic State University. A shoe and wine collection that’s the envy of pro athletes. Follow Chris on LinkedIn

Let's Take This to the Inbox

Sign up for our news, resources and updates. The inbox is our favorite place after all. We’ll make sure it’s worth it. (You can unsubscribe at any time, but you probably already knew that.)