Blog>3 Ways SEO can Help Reduce Carbon Emissions (+ Action Points)

3 Ways SEO can Help Reduce Carbon Emissions (+ Action Points)

Pella Helenius


With digitalisation skyrocketing, we should all make ourselves more aware and actively fight internet pollution. And within marketing, this is where green search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies enter the spotlight (stage right, thank you!).

SEO is a powerful thing. As most marketers and business owners are aware, SEO is about creating visibility in search engines using a whole variety of tactics, such as technical-maintenance, content creation and links.

But with a carefully crafted strategy, technical SEO services can also, in fact, help reduce emissions. With that said, let’s pop the question…

How can SEO help the environment?

When crafting an ethical SEO strategy, it is of high importance for developers and SEO professionals alike to understand just what an environmentally friendly website is. In most cases, this would mean that the website is running on low and green energy, and also prevents the user from wasting valuable electricity. How, to do this, I’ll break it down into digestible bits.

1. Improve page speed

One of the more prominent aspects of an eco-friendly SEO strategy is optimising page speed. Reducing the number and size of assets that need to load on a single page does not only result in less energy consumption from the user’s device, but also greatly reduces the risk of the user bouncing (or leaving the site in order to complete their intended goal elsewhere).

This is beneficial as the servers and databases won’t have to process more requests than necessary, resulting in less electricity usage, and in turn, less CO2 emissions.

Clear and regular communication between your SEO team and your developers will help you to reach your carbon reduction goals effectively. Having SEO services and web development services under one roof hugely increases the likelihood of success.

Actions that can be taken:

  • Resize and compress images

  • Be wary about using video content or GIFs, as these are usually very heavy

  • Try to use SVG or WebP instead of JPEG or PNG when uploading images, and try to use standardised fonts throughout the website

  • Developers can be mindful about minifying JavaScript and CSS files, as well as removing redundant and unnecessary code

2. Write high-quality content

We have already mentioned bouncing visitors and how they can affect the internet-environment, but speed isn’t the only thing that can affect your bounce rate. Writing high-quality content is probably the biggest factor of them all.

If you have a product that you know will help your customers with their problems, but the landing page for this product isn’t user friendly, these potential customers are going to leave and find something else (emitting more CO2).

Actions that can be taken:

By investing in UI/UX consultancy, and copywriting services, you will be able to match your potential customer’s search intent, encouraging and enabling them to complete their intended goal on your site rather than anyone else’s.

3. Switch to green hosting

Every website needs a website hosting service. The hosting service is a place where your website lives, where it is stored and saved. You can compare it to paying rent for your physical shop, but on the internet!

Depending on what host you choose, it can affect core aspects of your site such as site speed, data storage, security, and server maintenance. Because of the security and speed-related themes, this relates back to a stable technical SEO strategy.

Many hosts are now moving toward a more eco-friendly approach.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a host:

  1. What is the geolocation of your site vs the host? The further away the geolocation of the host is, the more it will affect your overall site speed and the more electricity it will consume.

  2. Does the host carbon offset for all server emissions? Even though carbon offset might not be ideal as we should stop carbon emissions from getting into the atmosphere in the first place, it is something that we would rather have than not.

  3. Does the host run on clean and renewable energy? We don’t want our sites to be run on coal, now do we? 😃

How much CO2 is produced by slow sites vs speedy sites?

The answer is: it depends. In the end, it all comes down to how many and how heavy the assets are on a site. If a website with 100 images makes an effort to reduce emission by compressing all of their images, it’s still not going to emit less than a very scaled down site that only has text.

The average website on the internet emits 1.76g of CO2 for every page view. A website with a more minimalistic approach and fewer visitors is naturally going to emit less than a site with a heavy focus on GIFs and videos, but with that said, the latter can (and should) still make an effort to reduce their emissions.

Here at ONQOR, our old website was, according to the website Carbon Calculator, dirtier than 64% of than other websites that have been tested. This is something we are fully aware (and ashamed!) of. We believe in an open and transparent dialogue about web sustainability, so we can work together to become better for the sake of the environment.

Interested in how much CO2 your site produces? Check out the website carbon calculator.

If every site on the internet was optimised, how much CO2 would be saved?

There are many discussions and speculations online, but environmentalists, developers and SEO professionals alike seem to somewhat agree that every site on the internet could potentially reduce their emissions by up to 50%.

So now, the CO2 emissions of the internet are roughly 1.6 billion annual tonnes. If all sites were optimised by 50%, we would be down to “only” 800 million tonnes. That’s still a lot, but better than being in the billions, and for such a small effort!

Staying on top of your SEO – especially site speed – is a win-win-win situation. Search engines will favour your website as it is a ranking factor, customers will be happier, and your carbon emissions will be lower.

I hope that you will carry this knowledge with you and join the movement of reducing internet pollution. If we all do our duty, we will be able to make a real change – and looking at the numbers above, we need to do something, not later, but now.

Green SEO Services – What ONQOR can do for you

ONQOR is a marketing agency, dedicated to making a change in the marketing industry. Whether you are an ethical brand already, or are dedicated to changing for the better, we can tailor web development- and SEO packages to propel your business in the right direction.

We specialise in environmentally-focused, technical SEO, SEO copywriting and efficient web development services. Take action – contact us and start your green marketing journey today.