Content & SEO

The Impact of SEO on Climate Change

By anne ·  August 19, 2021

What are your actions to help save the climate?

When we think about actual steps to reduce our carbon footprint, what comes first to our mind is probably the following: we choose to use a bicycle instead of the car to get around the city, we pick the train instead of a plane for short distance travels, we take our own reusable cup for a coffee to go, we try to buy local and reduce the amount of meat we eat or go vegetarian or even vegan. 

However, did you ever think about how much impact browsing the internet has on the environment? Is one of the most common actions we do every day a secret climate killer? 

Let’s have a look at the facts.

Market leader Google performs 228 million searches every hour, or 3,8 million every minute or 63,000 per second. According to Google, each search generates 0.2 grams of CO2. That makes 12.6 kg of CO2 every second. To put in a relation: an average car will produce 13 kg of CO2 while driving 70 km/hr. 

How SEO Can Help Save the Climate

Good news first. Even if using a search engine produces CO2, optimizing pages can help reduce it. Therefore, SEO turns out to be very beneficial for our environment. 

Here is why: 

  • With a good SEO Strategy and helpful SEO content, you can help reduce searches by giving users what they need and answer their questions.
  • By improving your site performance, you can not only speed up loading for your website for users, but also for your non-human traffic sources.

Surprisingly, on some websites there is more non-human traffic compared to actual human-user traffic: about 60 % more, to be exact. The more time it takes to load a page, the more power is used. Power consumption is increasing. 

Let’s see how you can decrease page loading times with SEO.

Calculation Example of Power Consumption WITHOUT Great Page Speed

A website with an average of 4k people a day 

Non-human traffic (e.g. search engine and other bots) equals 6k per day

Average load time for your non-optimized page is 4 sec. 

4000*4 = 16000 sec = 266 min per day

6000*4 = 24000 sec = 400 min per day

That means 666 minutes of high load for the webserver and waiting time for the user or the bot per day = 169 days per year

Calculation Example of Power Consumption WITH Great Page Speed

A website with an average of 4k people a day 

Non-human traffic (e.g. search engine and other bots) equals 6k per day

Average load time for your optimized page 0,5 sec. 

4000*0,5 = 2000 sec = 33 min per day

6000*0,5 = 3000 sec = 50 min per day

That means 83 minutes of high load for the webserver and waiting time for the user or the bot per day = 21 days per year 

Savings effect: 80% (!)

What Does a Good SEO Page Look Like? 

This is a tricky question with an answer not everyone will favor: it depends. It depends on the user intent and the type of content and the keyword. A product page looks different than a shop page, which is again completely different compared to a blog article. Maybe the user wants to buy something or they want to learn about a certain topic.

Nevertheless, there are some essentials that every page needs to cover. Here is a useful checklist to follow:

  • Create a keyword strategy and do keyword mapping
  • Think user-first
  • Optimize your title tag and meta description
  • Optimize your content for primary and secondary keywords
  • Bear in mind the headline hierarchy 
  • Include internal links
  • Take care of image SEO 

Create a Keyword Strategy

While doing keyword research, make sure you map one keyword to one URL. This is the best way to avoid duplicates. Your ideal keywords describe the content of the page very well, have a high search volume, low competition, and fit the user intent.

Think User-First 

It’s not about what you want to tell the world about your company or your product. It’s about how you can help users get what they want pleasantly. Having a fast-loading, well-structured page helps you a lot. We optimize for a search engine that is optimized for a user. 

Optimize Your Title Tag and Meta Description

Make sure that the title and meta description fit your page and your keyword. The meta description will appear in the search results, it is basically a preview or a summary of what your content is about. Make sure you stand out from the rest and stick to the character limits. The goal is to have people click and come to your page.

Optimize Your Content for Primary and Secondary Keywords

Optimized text should not feel like it’s created for search engines. It should be user-friendly. Make sure to use keywords in a subtle, organic way, and avoid keyword stuffing. You can write great readable content and optimize it in the best way. We suggest using tools to optimize stellar SEO content, which will outshine what your competitors published. 

Bear in Mind the Headline Hierarchy

Sticking to a headline hierarchy will help your users navigate through a page with ease. It also helps search engine bots understand the taxonomy of information within your content as crawlers go through the page. 

Include Internal Links

Internal linking is crucial to boost the authority of your page and domain. Use the anchor text of a page when you link it. For example, if you are linking SEO consulting services, you should make the anchor clear and relevant.  

Take Care of Image SEO

Make sure your images are compressed, named accurately, and don’t forget the alt tags for accessibility. Want to learn more? Check out our guide to image SEO. 

An SEO Page in an ideal world: well-structured, keyword-optimized, user-friendly

What Can I Do to Speed up My Website? 

When it comes to optimizing for speed, there is always room for improvement. Here is a short list of things that you start with if you want to improve the performance of your website. 

  • Stay up to date: Recently, Google announced that Core Web Vitals will be a Ranking Factor from June 2021. Tools like Page Speed Insights and your Google Search Console will give you Insights about it and what you need to improve on your page.
  • Image SEO: Big images over 1 MB or more will slow down your page. Make sure you use the right modern formats (e.g. SVG, WebP, JPG, PNG) and compress your images and/or have them automatically resized.
  • Themes/CMS: Check if the CMS or theme you want to have for your website has the right requirements for a well performing and optimized page. You would need to manually change things like URLs, titles, meta descriptions, headlines, alt tags, etc. The more advanced and complex your website is, the lengthier the list of things you’ll need to bear in mind. Also, most themes come with unnecessary source code, CSS and/or JavaScript. There are some themes out for purchase that are not SEO-friendly at all.
  • Clean code: If your code is clean – it is efficient and lean. This means it doesn’t need a lot of time to load, it’s easy to maintain and it conforms with the web standards by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which helps your website interact with up-to-date browsers.
  • Cache: A web page does not have to be recreated every time it is loaded. Data that has already been loaded or generated once remains in the cache so that it can be retrieved more quickly if needed later. Check your cache configuration for a better user experience.

  • Hosting provider: Providers with multiple stations can deliver data faster and the load can be distributed across multiple locations. The server can heat up very fast, they will need high energy reserves for cooling. Meanwhile, there are hosting providers who use the waste heat of the servers for heating and electricity generation. Some also use green electricity and renewable energies. 

There are a lot of things to do if you want to optimize your website and take a step into a more green website.

Stuck with SEO? Contact us today to discuss your goals, plans, challenges, and what you’ve tried so far.


What Can I Do to Make My Web Research More Sustainable? 

Google is a great search engine and provides awesome information. It does hold the biggest market share, but there are more search engines out there. One of them claims to be a sustainable search engine.

The organization that created Ecosia says they always donate at least 80% of the profits to reforestation projects every month. As a user who cares about the environment, you could give that a try.

If you are a fellow marketer, you might wonder about how to be visible on Ecosia. For Ads, they rely on ad management by Bing. There have been a couple of tests from SEO people, and they always seem to come to the same conclusion: the ranking algorithm is not a lot different from Google or Bing. So if you rank well on Google and Bing – you might also rank well on Ecosia. 

As you can see, ranking high in SERP goes beyond business benefits. Who would have thought that you’re actually helping the environment as well?

If you need help with your SEO strategy and would like to discuss your goals, get in touch with Zengrowth. Our team has driven growth for the world’s top companies such as Pipedrive, Wise, Piktochart, Typeform, TravelPerk, Phillips. Now, we can do the same for you.

About the author

Anne Brünnert