How SEO Can Help Reduce the Carbon Footprint of Your Business

Green leaf plant in a clear glass vase with water

When considering how to run a more environmentally friendly business, we often think about reducing and recycling waste, conserving energy through smart thermostats, using sustainable materials in packaging, and utilizing less fuel for commuting and deliveries. At least that’s what we initially looked at for Richardson Media Group’s media advertising and SEO agency.

What we don’t often think about, however, is how carbon emissions relate to our website and landing pages.

A website doesn’t take up physical space (at least it doesn’t look like it does when sitting at your desk). It doesn’t need to be shipped to us in a delivery truck. Yet, behind every click and scroll, there are servers humming, data transmitting, and various other energy-consuming processes that can leave a significant carbon footprint.

A single website has minimal impact on the planet, but when you put the internet together… every device, website, and online ecosystem… it may account for as much global greenhouse gas (GHG) as the airline industry.

Benefits of Sustainable Websites & Landing Pages

Landing pages for your social media advertising or other digital ads can be planet-friendly, and they won’t just benefit the environment. Far from being a trend, sustainable web pages carry profound implications on site performance, energy utilization, user experience, brand perception, and other commodities that can strengthen your organization’s environmental impact. Here are some additional benefits of using SEO to create eco-friendly websites and landing pages:

  1. Improved Site Performance: By refining code and compressing images and files, we significantly trim down the data required for loading, much like tuning an instrument for optimal performance. The result? When users click on one of your ads or find your page through a Google search, your landing page offers a fast load time and a superior browsing experience – a win for both users and the environment. Plus, page speed is a verified search ranking factor.

  2. Reduced Energy Costs: Behind every website visit lies a complex network of servers, each consuming a robust amount of energy. When our websites and landing pages are well-optimized, we reduce their required processing power, like dimming a light switch. Doing so trims operational costs slightly but, more importantly, reduces our carbon footprint, a small yet significant step towards a healthier planet.

  3. Enhanced User Experience: When creating landing pages, less is often more, and the pared-down aesthetics and streamlined interfaces associated with green websites inherently enhance user experience. Like a well-curated art gallery, these websites guide visitors seamlessly through the content, fostering extended site visits, longer time spent on a page, higher engagement times, and increased customer satisfaction.

  4. Positive Brand Image: A brand’s environmental commitment can be a powerful differentiator. When businesses have sustainable websites, they’re not just enhancing their digital platforms; they’re painting a broader picture of their values and priorities. This commitment resonates with consumers who prioritize environmental stewardship, potentially bolstering brand loyalty and reputation.

  5. Environmental Contribution: The internet, while invisible to the human eye, causes tangible carbon emissions. Businesses actively contribute to lowering their carbon output by adopting sustainable web design practices. It’s a small step that reflects a conscious choice to mitigate negative environmental impact.
black and white photo of CO2 coming out of a light switch

How to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint with SEO

Search Engine Optimization can create a more sustainable internet, from the beginning stage of web development to later stage landing page additions. Taken individually, a single website’s impact may seem small, however, the following practices can have profound implications on energy consumption, user experience, and our shared responsibility toward the environment:

  1. Choose a Green Host: Think about your web host as your website’s home. Opting for green hosting is like choosing a home powered by renewable energy. These providers either directly utilize renewable energy or offset their carbon emissions, reducing the environmental impact of your website’s online existence. The Green Web Foundation has a directory of hosts that employ eco-friendly practices. We recently moved the Richardson Media Group website over to SiteGround, which we have found to be a greener hosting option.

  2. Fix Site Structure: When a site’s structure is optimized for search engines, it becomes easier for users to find the information they need, reducing unnecessary browsing and lowering energy consumption. Proper SEO also considers other factors on this list, including site speed, high-quality content, optimizing images and videos, keeping your code clean, and more.

  3. Optimize Images and Videos: Compressing images and videos reduces their file size without compromising quality and reduces the amount of data that needs to be transmitted, conserving energy.

  4. Optimize Content & Copy: Well-optimized, engaging content can lower bounce rates and ensure visitors find the information they need quickly, reducing unnecessary energy consumption caused by prolonged browsing.

  5. Code Efficiently: Clean, streamlined code requires less processing power and energy consumption. Decreasing the amount of code on your landing pages can reduce load times too. Embrace the challenge of coding from scratch when possible, or use a content management system like WordPress which allows users to clean up and edit code.

  6. Use Lazy Loading: As discussed above, images and video can be significant in size and impact a website’s load time, so lazy loading defers the initialization of certain elements until they are in view. Implementing lazy loading reduces the initial page load time, improving site speed and enhancing UX. It also saves energy since less data is processed upfront.

  7. Cache Your Server: Server caching acts like a memory bank, storing a version of your site so it doesn’t need to generate a new one for each visitor. This process reduces repetitive tasks and saves energy, much like reusing materials in the physical world.

  8. Remove Unnecessary Plugins: Each plugin on a website is like a piece of furniture in a room; too much can create clutter and consume resources (even if you can’t physically see them on your website). If you use all of your plugins, you can leave them be, but you may be able to condense a few into a single plugin or take some out altogether.

  9. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs store copies of your site in various locations worldwide, reducing the distance data has to travel to your users.

  10. Mobile Optimization: Ensuring your landing pages perform well on smaller, handheld devices is great for UX and the planet, as mobile devices typically use less power than desktop computers.

  11. Regularly Update Your Website: Just as regular maintenance keeps a car running smoothly and efficiently, regular website updates ensure optimal performance and energy use.

  12. Simplify Fonts: Less complex fonts are quicker to load and render, reducing energy consumption and contributing to a lean, efficient, and visually pleasing website. Some examples of simple fonts include Georgia, Helvetica, PT Sans, PT Serif, Verdana and Open Sans, to name a few.

  13. Use Less Javascript: JavaScript, while powerful and versatile, can be resource-intensive, especially when used excessively or inefficiently. You don’t necessarily need to eliminate Javascript from your landing pages but minimizing its use can reduce your website’s energy consumption.

  14. Build Static Web Pages: Dynamic pages require server-side processing and database queries every time they’re accessed, but static pages are pre-built and delivered to the user exactly as stored, demanding fewer resources, reducing load times, and providing a better user experience.

  15. Plan and Measure: Sustainable web design is a collective effort that involves planning, implementing, and measuring your impact. A few different tools are available to help you determine if your website is eco-friendly, including Eco Grader, Website Carbon, and Beacon. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a good score on these tools immediately. They’re available as a guide to motivate you to become more sustainable.

The Future of Sustainable Websites and SEO

Forward-thinking companies already recognize that the future of the web lies at the intersection of sustainability and UX. As businesses and consumers become more environmentally aware, the demand for green, efficient, user-friendly websites and landing pages will continue growing.

If you’re ready to create a more sustainable website, consider signing the Sustainable Web Manifesto, which outlines six key commitments we can make to form a more planet-friendly Internet: clean, efficient, open, honest, regenerative, and resilient.

Our paid media and SEO agency is committed to making the web a better place, both for users and for the planet. The advertising campaigns and SEO strategies we manage can lessen your business’ carbon emissions while successfully achieving your marketing goals. If you’re eager to learn more about our digital marketing services, don’t hesitate to contact Richardson Media Group today!

Anne Richardson

Anne Richardson is the owner and media director of Richardson Media Group, an agency specializing in media planning and buying, advertising campaign management, and SEO.


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Anne outside the door of the Richardson Media Group office.

In addition to her role as owner and media director here at RMG, Anne authors the majority of our blog posts and hosts our BSuite podcast. Favorite topics for both platforms include the entrepreneurial journey, sustainability + social responsibility, media planning, media buying, and forming productive agency partnerships.