Does Adding Links To A Cold Email Affect Deliverability?

Updated April 2024

Adding links to your cold emails can negatively affect your deliverability.

This means that your emails are more likely to go to the spam folder (not primary inbox).

I recommend that you don’t include any links (as well as attachments and images) in your cold emails.

In this article, I will discuss everything that you need to know about adding links to your cold emails:

Do links negatively affect deliverability?

Yes, adding links to your cold emails can negatively affect your deliverability.

This means that your emails are more likely to go to spam.

This does not mean that your emails are guaranteed to go to spam just because you include a link, but the likelihood is increased.

screenshot of an email with 5 links in it

There are two reasons why email service providers (Gmail, Outlook, etc) don’t like emails that contain links:

  1. Links can be used in phishing scams, which are used to steal peoples’ private information. Email service providers make it a priority to avoid showing emails to their users that contain suspicious links.

  2. Email service providers view it as their job to only show the most relevant emails to their users. On average, emails that are full of links are more likely to be sales/promotional related, which is not what their users want to see. So if your email contains too many links, then it’s more likely to end up in the spam folder.

Should you include links in cold emails?

In my opinion, you should not include any links in yourncold emails.

Sending cold emails that land in the primary inbox (not spam) is already hard enough, so you don’t want to do anything that increases your chances of landing in spam.

If your prospect wants to learn more about you or your company, then they will copy the domain associated with your email address and paste it in their browser to view your website. You don’t need to link to your website in your email’s body.

screenshot of an email

Once your lead responds, you can include as many links, attachments or images as you want. But if you include these things in your first cold email (before you’ve received a response), then your email is more likely to go to spam.

The only exception to this is if you have a well established email address with a good sender reputation score, then including a single link to your LinkedIn profile is fine. However, you can still A/B test this to see if it affects your deliverability.

How many links can you include in a cold email?

I recommend that you don’t include any links in your first cold email to a prospect.

Only include links after the prospect has already responded.

However, if you decide to include links in your first cold email, then I recommend limiting it to just one or two links total.

screenshot showing cold email text in gmail

The more links that you include in your cold email, the more likely it is that your email will land in spam.

If you are going to add links to your email, then you should listen to Google’s (Gmail) advice: "Web links in the message body should be visible and easy to understand. Recipients should know what to expect when they click a link." - source.

Can you link to your own website in a cold email?

I recommend that you don't link to your own website in your cold emails.

I recommend that you don’t include any links in your first email to a prospect because it could negatively affect your deliverability. If a prospect wants to find out more about you, they can enter your domain into their browser, so you don’t need to include a link to your website in your email’s body.

You can include your website's domain in the signature of your email, without hyperlinking it.

Should you include links in your email signature?

From a deliverability perspective, it’s safer to not include any links in your email signature.

I recommend that you don't include any links or images in your signature to ensure that your emails go to the primary inbox (not spam).

Learn more in my article How To Write A Professional Email Signature.

screenshot showing plain text email

Final thoughts

I recommend that you don’t include any links in your cold emails.

If the prospect has already responded to your email, then you can include links, attachments and images, and it won’t negatively impact your deliverability. But if the prospect hasn't responded, then these will cause your emails to go to spam.

To be safe, I recommend that you send your cold emails as plain text, not HTML. You can learn more about this in my article Plain Text vs HTML: Which Is Better For Cold Email Deliverability?

If you send your cold emails with Emailchaser, then they will be sent as plain text by default.

picture of George Wauchope

Article by

George Wauchope

Founder of Emailchaser.

I have been working in the sales & marketing industry for nearly a decade.

When I’m not working on my business, I enjoy eating sushi & doing jiu-jitsu.

About the author