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Starting February 1, 2024, Google has established new guidelines for those sending emails to Gmail users, emphasizing the importance of using SPF, DKIM, and DMARC for authentication, keeping spam rates low, and making it easy for recipients to unsubscribe.

This post will guide you through the requirements, explaining why they matter and how to implement them. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your emails reach their intended recipients and not the spam folder.

Requirement 1: DKIM

DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is a security standard designed to ensure emails are not altered during transmission. It uses public-key cryptography to sign emails with a private key as they leave the sending server. Recipient servers use a public key, published in the sender’s DNS, to verify the message’s source and integrity. This process confirms that the message’s content has remained unchanged since it was signed, establishing its authenticity. 

Most email service providers handle the complexities of DKIM for you, including managing encryption keys and signing outgoing messages. The only action required on your part is to add a DKIM record to your domain’s DNS settings. This TXT record, typically provided by your email service provider, contains the public key that recipient servers use for verification.

Requirement 2: SPF

Sender Policy Framework (SPF) is an email authentication standard that prevents email spoofing by verifying sender IP addresses. It enables domain owners to specify which mail servers are permitted to send email on behalf of their domain. When an email is received, the recipient’s server checks the SPF record in the domain’s DNS to verify that the email was sent from an authorized server. 

To set up SPF, you need to create a TXT record in your domain’s DNS settings that lists the mail servers authorized to send emails on behalf of your domain. An SPF record might look like this: “v=spf1 ip4: ~all”. This record specifies that the IP address and servers authorized by are allowed to send emails from your domain. The “~all” part indicates that emails from other sources should be treated as soft fails, meaning they can still be accepted but marked.

Requirement 3: DMARC

Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) is an email authentication protocol that builds on SPF and DKIM. It allows domain owners to protect their domain from spoofing by specifying how email receivers should handle emails that don’t pass SPF or DKIM checks. 

Implementing DMARC involves creating a DMARC record in your DNS settings, which outlines your domain’s policy for handling emails that fail SPF or DKIM verification. This policy can instruct receiving mail servers to do nothing, quarantine the message, or reject it outright. To set up DMARC, you add a TXT record for the subdomain with your policy. This record might look like “v=DMARC1; p=quarantine;”, where “p=quarantine” means emails failing DMARC are moved to the spam folder, and “” specifies where aggregate reports of DMARC failures should be sent.

Once you have set up your DMARC record, visit the DMARC Checker website and send a test message to the email address provided on the page. The tool will check if your email passes DKIM, SPF, and DMARC authentication and provide you with a detailed report.

Requirement 4: Reverse DNS Record

A Reverse DNS (rDNS) record, also known as a PTR record, is crucial for validating a server’s identity by mapping an IP address back to its associated domain name. This process is the opposite of what a typical DNS does, hence the name. rDNS plays a significant role in email deliverability, as many email servers perform a reverse DNS lookup on the sending mail server’s IP address to verify its legitimacy. If the rDNS fails, the email is more likely to be treated as spam or rejected. 

Typically, setting up a reverse DNS record is done through your internet service provider (ISP) or hosting service. You’ll need to provide them with your sending IP address and the domain name you want it to resolve to. If your sending IP address is, and you want it to resolve to, your hosting provider will create a PTR record in the DNS that points to Note that the IP address is reversed in the domain format for the PTR record.

Requirement 5: TLS

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is a protocol that encrypts data sent over the internet, ensuring that any information transmitted between email servers remains private and secure. Google’s new guidelines make TLS a mandatory requirement for all sending email servers transmitting emails to Gmail servers. 

Most modern email service providers automatically use TLS for email transmissions. However, it’s important to verify that your provider supports TLS and has it enabled for all outgoing emails. If you manage your own email server, ensure that it’s configured to use TLS for sending emails. This typically involves setting up a valid SSL/TLS certificate and configuring your server to use secure protocols for email transmission.

Requirement 6: Low Spam Rates

Google’s guidelines now require that senders maintain a spam rate below 0.10% as reported in Postmaster Tools, with a strict warning against exceeding a 0.30% spam rate. This measure is designed to ensure that emails reaching Gmail users are relevant and welcome, reducing the volume of unsolicited messages. 

To maintain low spam rates, it’s essential to focus on engaging your audience with content that is relevant and valuable, which encourages their interaction and engagement. This means not only crafting emails that resonate with your subscribers but also performing regular list cleaning to remove inactive subscribers. Such practices ensure that your emails are directed towards those who are genuinely interested and engaged. Furthermore, adopting opt-in practices, particularly the double opt-in method, is crucial. This approach requires users to confirm their subscription, guaranteeing that they have explicitly agreed to receive your emails. 

In terms of monitoring and adjusting your approach, regularly reviewing your spam rates through Google’s Postmaster Tools is vital. This tool helps you identify any issues with your emails that might be causing higher spam rates. Should your spam rate approach or exceed the set thresholds, it’s a signal to reassess your email strategy and content. Adjusting your approach based on feedback and data can help you better align with your audience’s preferences and needs, ultimately ensuring your emails remain welcomed and effective in reaching your audience.

Requirement 7: One-Click Unsubscribe

Google now mandates that all marketing emails sent to Gmail users must include an easy, one-click unsubscribe option. This feature allows recipients to quickly opt out of unwanted emails, enhancing their experience and your reputation as a sender.

Including a visible unsubscribe link in every marketing email is crucial. It should lead recipients directly to an unsubscribe process without requiring additional steps. This not only meets Google’s requirements but also enhances your sender reputation by reducing spam complaints.


Following Google’s new guidelines for email senders is key to ensuring your emails reach Gmail users. By setting up SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, keeping spam rates low, and making it easy to unsubscribe, you’ll improve how your emails are received. These steps are not just about meeting Google’s rules—they’re about building trust with your audience and getting better results from your email campaigns.

Keep an eye on these practices and adjust as needed. This way, your emails will continue to land in the right inboxes, keeping your communication effective and your audience engaged.