Nowadays, many websites consume a lot of energy both for data transmission and for the user’s end devices. It is therefore important to check the data size of a website carefully and to rely on sustainable web design.
Sustainable web design also means using Green SEO. It’s not just about the technical aspects, but also about the user-friendliness of a website. Such web design can reduce energy consumption, for example by avoiding unnecessary resources and making the website leaner.
For your company, sustainability on the web should be a central point of your SEO strategy. An SEO expert for your website can make an important contribution to the environment and climate. By using sustainable web design and green SEO, you can not only reduce energy consumption and CO₂ emissions, but also raise awareness of sustainability.
Side weight budget
The size of a web design is an important factor, as it can contribute to carbon emissions. A decisive criterion for this is the page weight, hence the size of the page in kilobytes. By setting a maximum page weight budget, companies can optimize their website to be more resource efficient and thus reduce carbon emissions.
A maximum page weight budget can be set in a number of ways. One way is to use tools that automatically measure the weight of the webpage.
Another option is to check the website manually. You can measure and check the size of each item (such as pictures or videos). Here it is important to emphasize that the budget is chosen in such a way that the website still loads fast enough and the user-friendliness is not affected.
Using lightweight web fonts instead of large graphics and cutting down on unnecessary HTML & CSS code can help reduce page weight significantly. Another option would be to use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which speed up the delivery of content.
Every website of the company should be CO₂ neutral
Digitization has continued to increase in recent years and with it the energy consumption on the Internet. Every company website has a CO₂ footprint, which is caused by the use of servers and the associated energy consumption.
The low-carbon websites should:
- Choose the servers that offer “green hosting”
- Have a minimalist web design – despite this web design, but offer the most positive, intuitive and useful experience to the users
- Improve the online experiences – the pages that load faster and are easier to access on weak connections
It is important for companies to address the issue of website decarbonization. The servers that host websites use a lot of energy. The “green hosting” can reduce the CO₂ footprint and thus make an important contribution to climate protection.
A minimalist web design is an effective measure to decarbonize websites. This minimalist design reduces the loading time of the website, which in turn reduces energy consumption. Simple navigation and clear structures help users find what they are looking for quickly and easily.
Another important factor for a carbon neutral website is creating online experiences that load quickly and are easily accessible when the connections are weak. Ease of use and a leaner and more intuitive user journey can also help reduce energy consumption.
Three central elements of a sustainability strategy on the web
The three central elements of a sustainability strategy are efficiency, consistency and sufficiency
- Efficiency – the environmentally friendly, efficient and technical innovations – create eco-efficiency through innovative working methods – achieve more performance with little effort (e.g., choose the economical programming language)
- Consistency – switching to sustainable energy from water, wind and sun (e.g., using green computing centers where possible) – the use of materials that are environmentally friendly (circular economy) and lower energy consumption
- Sufficiency – by changing personal behavior, resources and energy should be used sparingly – a high sense of responsibility is in the foreground (change in behavior) and the clever use of renewable and non-renewable resources
These three sustainability strategies can be combined very well. Good use of renewable and non-renewable resources is important for every company.
Development of a sustainability strategy on the web
A sustainability strategy on the web includes different instruments, procedures and well-thought-out strategies. These elements should be inculcated as important developments in the company’s DNA and Green SEO implemented on their website.
Implementing a sustainability strategy on the web is necessary to meet the increasing demand for sustainability and environmental awareness. The aim is:
- reduce CO₂ emissions and
- minimize energy consumption
One way to reduce data transfer and power consumption is to evaluate the server log files for a month. The complete crawler and bot traffic, PDF files and videos are also recorded here. With this analysis, unnecessary data loads can be identified and eliminated.
The loading of images, fonts and scripts cannot be prevented, but it is possible to make the website fast, visually appealing and free of unnecessary data loads. This can be achieved through careful selection of the programming language, which itself contributes to energy efficiency. In order to measure the amount of data transferred between end devices and data centers, it is possible to create a sustainability report in which the CO₂ emissions for all IT systems are recorded.
If you start a Google search, for example, you need energy in three places:
- With your own end device (laptop, mobile phone, tablet or computer)
- In the data and computing centers with their servers and their cooling units
- In the communication networks including cellular stations and Internet routers
An important question arises are: How many kilowatt hours of electricity does 1 gigabyte of data transfer consume?
There are different dates and no real source:
- 1 gigabyte of data transfer = 0.06 kilowatt hours of power consumption and
- 1 gigabyte of data transfer = 0.81 kilowatt hours of power consumption
This varying power consumption is due to the different “types of data” that need to be transmitted (video streaming uses significantly more power). Accurate measurements are made more difficult by the fact that it is not so easy to determine how much one gigabyte of data transmission uses per kilowatt hour of electricity. But one kilowatt hour of electricity consumption causes an average of 420 grams of CO₂ emissions:
- 1 kilowatt hour of electricity consumption = average 420 grams of CO₂ emissions – estimated values for 2021 – source: umweltbundesamt.de
Green SEO and decarbonization of a website
Is green hosting possible nowadays? It is in the planning stage, but unfortunately 100% green hosting is not yet possible.
The “green tools” for online marketers and search engine optimizers can help to create a sustainable web design. At the end of this blog post, you can find a list of several Green SEO tools.
It is important to emphasize here that sustainable web design does not yet bring a ranking advantage, but:
- Faster loading times and stable page structure are core web vitals criteria
- Green Hosting and Dark Mode (black screen background) currently have no effect
- Sustainability on the web is becoming more and more important
- “Green websites” can do a lot for the environment because they make sense
- “Green websites” can mention well with users if they are communicated accordingly
All companies should rely on green SEO and check their websites for sustainability. Sustainable web design is a necessity for companies to make a contribution to the environment and climate. A well implemented and sustainable web design is not only important for environmental protection, but also for the image of the company.
We don’t need websites that could be called “Digital SUV”. Finding a balance between energy consumption and the environment that improves the user experience and also supports the condition of a website is essential.
The topic of data economy should be made a central requirement in every company. Let’s clean up, delete data that is no longer needed, create new content in a sustainable and data-saving way. This saves electricity and reduces CO₂ emissions.
Green SEO tools
- Webseite Carbon Calculator – Assessment of the sustainability of a website
- Green Web Checker – Green hosting check
- Digitalbeacon – Calculate the environmental impact of a web page
- Are my third parties green? – Third party resources check used by a website
- Ecograder – A tool for professional SEOs with technical optimization tips
- ScreamingFrog – Analyze image sizes and non-optimized images
- Google Lighthouse Report – Performance score and script analysis
- CrUX Dashboard – Origin field data of a web page