Green SEO: Increase Traffic & Make Your Site More Sustainable
6 min read
28th Sep 2023
In today’s digital age, where online visibility is paramount for businesses, it’s essential to consider the environmental cost.
The internet is a huge polluter of the environment. In 2019, it accounted for around 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the aviation industry’s carbon footprint, and this figure is expected to rise.
Our guide to “Green SEO” will help you reduce your website’s carbon footprint, while enhancing its prominence in search engine rankings.
What is Green SEO?
Green SEO is the process of optimising a website for two purposes:
- To lower carbon emissions and protect the environment,
- To improve the visibility of your website in the SERPs (search engine results pages), driving more traffic to your site.
There are certain ways you can achieve this, including changing your web host and making optimisations to improve the efficiency of your site.
The benefits of SEO for green companies
There are some key benefits of SEO for green companies in particular:
- Aligning with your sustainability goals – by adopting ethical and sustainable SEO techniques, green companies reinforce their commitment to environmental responsibility
- Faster sites = lower emissions – efficiencies made while optimising the speed and performance of your website mean less energy is needed to load your pages, min turn lowering its carbon footprint
- Capture fast-growing demand for sustainability – a 2021 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows a staggering 71% rise in popularity of searches for sustainable goods over the previous five years, showing the ever-increasing value of ranking well in the SERPs for sustainable topics
- Visibility on emerging trends – a good SEO will monitor new trends in search data, which is particularly important for green companies with the fast-growing demand for sustainability
As well as this, many of the benefits of SEO for sustainable companies are the same as those for any other organisation:
- Increased online visibility – higher rankings in the SERPs means more traffic
- Targeted traffic – creating optimised content around relevant topics helps bring the right people to your website
- Enhanced brand recognition – high search engine rankings can increase a company’s credibility and brand recognition
- Cost-effective marketing – compared to traditional advertising methods, SEO is often more cost-effective in the long term
- Improved conversion rates – many optimisations, particularly those affecting your site’s speed, can also reduce bounce rates and increase the number of visitors who convert
How to make your green SEO strategy
Step 1: Host your site with a sustainable provider
Here are some of the better options, although there are hundreds of options out there.
+ GreenGeeks work with Bonneville Environmental Foundation to offset 300% of their energy use
+ Backups every 24 hours on any price plan
+ Built-in caching on any price plan Great for US websites
- Big price rise once the introductory offer expires (12 months)
+ Krystal work with Ecotricity to power their datacentre facility with 100% renewable energy
+ Clear green policy and actions to reduce carbon emissions, including their initiative to plant 1 billion trees by 2030 through 1t.org
+ Daily backups on all price plans
+ Great for UK websites, with deployment locations in the US and Netherlands too
– Big price rise once the introductory offer expires (12 months)
A note on iPage web hosting…
If you search for anything along the lines of “green web hosting” you’ll find several articles that reference iPage’s 200% carbon offsetting scheme.
After contacting iPage I found that this scheme has been discontinued, so you’re best to host your site elsewhere!
Tip: Use the Green Web Directory’s Tool to check if your current host is approved as meeting their sustainability criteria.
Step 2: Optimise your site’s speed and experience
Here are some key ways you can optimise your site to reduce carbon emissions:
- Reduce the size of images (TinyPNG is excellent for this) and videos
- Clean your code – remove duplication and unused code
- Use server caching
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
- Build static web pages where possible
- Use modern web font file formats like WOFF and WOFF2
Google Lighthouse Report is a free and commonly used tool to help identify areas for improvement.
I’ve found Ecograder’s tool much more insightful when looking at the energy efficiency of each change, though. It also has a great interface which is easier to read, although you’ll likely need a web developer to help implement the recommendations.
Step 3: Use a minimalist web design
On a similar note to the previous step, simplifying your website will often reduce its carbon footprint (as well as reducing distraction from your site’s content).
- Limit the variety of fonts on your site – one or two fonts is enough!
- Only include images and videos that are helpful or engaging
- Use a simple navigation
Step 4: Adapt to emerging search trends
The ever-increasing demand and fast-changing search behaviour around sustainability is both an opportunity and a challenge for green companies. Monitoring and adapting to those changes is key.
My favourite tool to monitor emerging trends is Glimpse, which is a Chrome extension that integrates with Google Trends to show trend data with a few great additions, including; trend predictions, trend alerts, and search demand by platform.
You can use this data to guide your strategy in a number of ways – such as by creating new landing pages to target new search terms, or by creating content for different platforms (TikTok, YouTube, Reddit, LinkedIn, Instagram and more!).
How GrowRoom can help
Ultimately, a more efficient website is a better website. GrowRoom’s SEO team can help you reduce your site’s carbon emissions and provide a better user experience for your customers.
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