Avoiding Spam Keywords and Their Origins

« Blog

Has your marketing email ever been delivered to the junk folder? While sender reputation is the most common and likely cause, spam keywords are another factor in the equation that can trigger a spam filter to block or junk your email. Spam filters will check for specific keywords like “free” or “no credit check” both in the subject and body of your email and calculate a score based on the severity and combination of words used.  The context of spam keywords can increase their weight in the equation as well. For example, use of the words “all” or “new” may not have any impact, but combine them into the phrase “all new” and it may add to the likelihood that your email will be flagged as spam.

The list of keywords that get flagged is always being updated and can vary from one inbox provider to the next. Before the dawn of the ubiquitous Nigerian Prince Scam, the word “Nigerian” was probably fine. Now it’s a highly weighted spam keyword.  Words get flagged because they are correlated with spam, but the words themselves are not really the target - spam filters aim to flag spam-like behavior and ultimately identify unwanted email. For example, starting an email with “Dear {Firstname}” would be an unusually formal introduction for a marketing email if the recipient had actually provided explicit permission, and likely indicates the lack of an existing relationship between the sender and the recipient. To this end, keywords from the latest scam, certain industries, and “clever sales tactics” will eventually become flagged when they are associated with unwanted email.

Addressing the Root Cause

As you examine your own templates, don’t just avoid the spam keywords, be sure to avoid the underlying behavior as well. The goal is not just to make sure your emails don’t appear to be spam, but to make sure they are not spam, in any way, shape, or form. Scams and spam tend to be overly persuasive because there’s no real value underpinning their offering, so you can differentiate yourself from the textbook profile of spam by engaging in industry standard best practices and focusing on providing valuable information about your product or service.

Suppose you ran a completely legitimate Nigerian lottery, marketing it via email would always be an uphill battle. If your industry uses keywords commonly associated with spam, you should try to limit their use in email. Knowingly using spam keywords comes with inherent risk, so you’ll also need to make sure your other reputation factors are squeaky clean, as you’ll effectively be afforded less leeway by spam filters.

Below is an example list of spam keywords for reference. If these words appear in abundance in your templates, be sure to remove not only the keywords but also consider why these words or phrases are in your template to begin with. 

Spam Keywords

#1

Eliminate debt

Marketing

Removal instructions

$$$

Email harvest

Marketing solutions

Removes wrinkles

100%

Email marketing

Mass email

Request

100% free

Exclusive deal

Medicine

Requires initial investment

100% Satisfied

Expect to earn

Medium

Reserves the right

4U

Expire

Meet singles

Reverses aging

50% off

Explode your business

Member

Risk free

Accept credit cards

Extra

Member stuff

Rolex

Acceptance

Extra cash

Message contains disclaimer

Round the world

Access

Extra income

Million

S 1618

Accordingly

F r e e

Million dollars

Safeguard notice

Act Now!

Fantastic

Miracle

Sale

Action

Fantastic deal

MLM

Sales

Ad

Fast cash

Money

Sample

Additional income

Financial freedom

Money back

Satisfaction

Addresses on CD

Financially independent

Money making

Satisfaction guaranteed

Affordable

For free

Month trial offer

Save

All natural

For instant access

More Internet Traffic

Save $

All natural/new

For just $xxx

Mortgage

Save big money

All new

For Only

Mortgage rates

Save up to

Amazed

For you

Multi-level marketing

Score

Amazing

Form

Name brand

Search engine listings

Apply now

Free

Never

Search engines

Apply Online

Free access

New customers only

Section 301

As seen on

Free cell phone

New domain extensions

See for yourself

Auto email removal

Free consultation

Nigerian

Sent in compliance

Avoid

Free DVD

No age restrictions

Serious

Avoid bankruptcy

Free gift

No catch

Serious cash

Bargain

Free grant money

No claim forms

Serious only

Be amazed

Free hosting

No cost

Shopper

Be your own boss

Free info

No credit check

Shopping spree

Being a member

Free installation

No credit check/experience

Sign up free today

Beneficiary

Free Instant

No disappointment

Social security number

Best price

Free investment

No experience

Solution

Beverage

Free leads

No fees

Spam

Big bucks

Free membership

No gimmick

Special promotion

Bill 1618

Free money

No hidden

Stainless steel

Billing

Free offer

No hidden Costs

Stock alert

Billion

Free preview

No interests

Stock disclaimer statement

Bonus

Free priority mail

No inventory

Stock pick

Boss

Free quote

No investment

Stop

Brand new pager

Free sample

No medical exams

Stop snoring

Bulk email

Free trial

No middleman

Strong buy

Buy

Free website

No obligation

Stuff on sale

Buy direct

Freedom

No purchase necessary

Subject to cash

Buying judgments

Friend

No questions asked

Subject to credit

Cable converter

Full refund

No selling

Subscribe

Call

Get it now

No strings attached

Success

Call free

Get out of debt

Not intended

Supplies

Call now

Get paid

Not junk

Supplies are limited

Calling creditors

Get started now

Not spam

Take action

Can’t live without

Gift certificate

Notspam

Take action now

Cancel

Give it away

Now

Talks about hidden charges

Cancel at any time

Giving away

Now only

Talks about prizes

Cannot be combined with any other offer

Great

Obligation

Teen

Cards accepted

Great offer

Offer

Terms

Cash

Guarantee

Offer expires

Terms and conditions

Cash bonus

Guaranteed

Offshore

The best rates

Casino

Have you been turned down?

Once in lifetime

The following form

Celebrity

Hello

One hundred percent free

They’re just giving it away

Cents on the dollar

Hidden

One hundred percent guaranteed

This isn’t a scam

Certified

Hidden assets

One time

This isn’t junk

Chance

Hidden charges

One time mailing

This isn’t spam

Cheap

Home based business

Online biz opportunity

This won’t last

Check

Home employment

Online degree

Thousands

Check or money order

Homebased business

Online marketing

Time limited

Claims

Human growth hormone

Online pharmacy

Traffic

Clearance

If only it were that easy

Only

Trial

Click

Important information regarding

Only $

Undisclosed recipient

Click below

In accordance with laws

Open

University diplomas

Click here

Income

Opportunity

Unlimited

Click to remove

Income from home

Opt in

Unsecured credit

Collect

Increase sales

Order now

Unsecured debt

Collect child support

Increase traffic

Order shipped by

Unsolicited

Compare rates

Increase your sales

Order status

Unsubscribe

Compete for your business

Incredible deal

Order today

Urgent

Confidentially on all orders

Info you requested

Orders shipped by

US dollars

Congratulations

Information you requested

Outstanding values

Vacation

Consolidate your debt

Instant

Passwords

Vacation offers

Copy accurately

Insurance

Pennies a day

Valium

Copy DVDs

Internet marketing

Per day

Viagra

Cost

Investment

Per week

Vicodin

Costs

Investment decision

Performance

Visit our website

Credit

It’s effective

Phone

Wants credit card

Credit bureaus

Join millions of Americans

Please

Warranty

Credit card offers

Junk

Please read

We hate spam

Cures

Laser printer

Potential earnings

We honor all

Cures baldness

Leave

Pre-approved

Web traffic

Deal

Legal

Presently

Weekend getaway

Dear

Life

Price

Weight

Debt

Life Insurance

Print form signature

Weight loss

Diagnostics

Lifetime

Print out and fax

What are you waiting for?

Dig up dirt on friends

Limited

Priority mail

What’s keeping you?

Direct email

Limited time offer

Prize

While supplies last

Direct marketing

Limited time only

Prizes

While you sleep

Discount

Loans

Problem

Who really wins?

Do it today

Long distance phone offer

Produced and sent out

Why pay more?

Don’t delete

Lose weight

Profits

Wife

Don’t hesitate

Lower interest rates

Promise

Will not believe your eyes

Dormant

Lower monthly payment

Promise you

Win

Double your cash

Lower your mortgage rate

Purchase

Winner

Double your income

Lowest insurance rates

Pure Profits

Winning

Drastically reduced

Lowest Price

Quote

Won

Earn

Luxury

Rates

Work at home

Earn $

Luxury car

Real thing

Work from home

Earn extra cash

Mail in order form

Refinance

Xanax

Earn per week

Maintained

Refinance home

You have been selected

Easy terms

Make $

Refund

You’re a Winner!

Eliminate bad credit

Make money

Removal

Your income