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Marketers need to pull their weight on making search sustainable

by Eilish Hughes | 10.06.2022

Marketers should be assessing how they can fine-tune site management, server choices, and digital operations for greater green good.

The illusion of ‘clean’ digital has long since shattered. Following reports that devices, back-end systems, and the web drive around 4% of global greenhouse gases, it’s clear everything we do carries its own carbon load – especially larger scale activities, such as online search.

Exact emissions can be hard to define. In 2009, Google estimated each search fuelled 0.2g of CO2 equivalent; driving the impact of two trillion annual queries to 400,000 tonnes. More recent research suggests searches may weigh in at 0.01kg, based on 47,000 average requests driving 400kg in CO2 per second. Either way, however, there is one key conclusion for brand marketers: they need greener ways of boosting online visibility.

With consumers extremely unlikely to ditch their digital habits, high rankings remain vital for strong awareness and engagement. But the need for change is growing. While part of this will involve significant infrastructure overhauls from site owners and internet providers, there are also many ways marketers can pull their weight on making search sustainable.