The e-mail newsletter: a key weapon in your SEO arsenal

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Loren McDonald
Loren McDonald

Content is still king. Optimize your online content and you are bound to see a significant increase in traffic and conversions as a result of improved organic search rankings. And if you're a b-to-b company or invested in building a brand, a simple but often overlooked way to increase your keyword rankings is to optimize the content of your e-mail newsletter.

If you follow current best practices, you're already posting your full newsletter articles to your site, where recipients will click through to read them, along with other content, over the few days following distribution of the e-newsletter. These posted, optimized articles will continue to generate significant traffic for years as a result of organic searches.

So, how to get started? Think about important keywords, phrases and crosslinks that would help with SEO and develop the newsletter content and article titles around them. Initially, this can feel a bit challenging as you try to balance using action words used to get readers to open your email or click a link and optimizing headlines that target specific keyword phrases.

Consider these tips, too:

Use a teaser and optimize your titles and headlines for keywords Use motivating subject lines, titles and one to two paragraph “teasers” in the e-mail to motivate readers to click through to a Web site version optimized with keywords in subheads or secondary titles following a colon or dash.

Review your e-mail clickthrough rates, Web analytics and internal search data to determine topics and keywords for future articles.

Target second- and third-tier keywords Optimize articles and pages specifically written around less competitive but important phrases to return a higher ranking.

Break up the newsletter Always post and optimize a complete Web version of your newsletter, but also divide it up by placing all of the articles, tips and other content individually on the site in a resource center or similar area.

Follow SEO basics Optimize article URLs, title tags and links to reflect your targeted keywords. Incorporate crosslinks to related articles on your site, and link previous articles and newsletters to your freshly posted content.

Loren McDonald is chief marketing officer of J.L. Halsey Corp., Menlo Park, CA. Reach him at

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