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Good for the Environment, Good for SEO?

03/11/2016 02:36 pm ET | Updated Mar 11, 2016
  • Brian Hughes CEO, Founder, Digital Marketing Expert at Integrity Marketing & Consulting

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An eco-friendly business model is not just good for the environment- going green can also give your digital marketing a boost, too. From t-shirts to cleaning products, one in three Americans prefer eco-friendly products. We're willing to spend more on green products, too. More than half of all Americans said they are more likely to buy a product that's good for the environment over a slightly cheaper product, according to SurveyMonkey. Customers aren't just opting for recycled paper towels at the grocery store. They're also researching products and companies online to better understand the environmental implications of their purchasing patterns.

"When it comes to increasing online exposure, eco-friendly companies are sitting on a huge strategic business advantage," says Kotton Grammer, the CEO at KottonGrammer, a leading SEO agency. "But many of these companies are so focused on selling their products or ranking highly for certain keywords they overlook the value of greening their SEO. Adding terms like 'eco-friendly' next to a city name and product or service can result in a huge jump in search result placement."

Just ask Reimer Ivang with Better World Fashion, an innovative startup creating sustainable leather jackets. After Better World Fashion "greened" their SEO strategy, they noticed a real jump in their Google rankings as well as an increase in visitor on-page time.

"At Better World Fashion, we're a completely new approach to fashion that's focused on sustainability by recycling leather," says Reimer. "While we already featured this story on our website, once we added terms like 'sustainable' to our page titles and headings, we started getting much better search engine traffic and attracting the right people to our website."

Potential customers are searching for eco-friendly businesses. Is yours easy to find? Don't hide one of your key differentiating factors from search engines. From link building to SEO keywords, here's how to highlight your eco-friendly business in digital marketing.

1. Green your keywords. Optimizing your website with relevant, targeted keywords is SEO 101, and you've probably already done this for your industry and location. (Right?) Don't overlook about eco-friendly keyword search terms! Start with a full site audit: are popular search terms like "Eco-Friendly", "Green", "Green Business" listed on your site next to your business name, products or services?

The most important places for keyword optimization are titles, descriptions, headings and content, image file names, and URLs. Start with titles: these are shown in the browser tab and search results and have a direct impact on click through rates. Aim for titles to be 65 words or less and include several of your top targeted keywords or phrases. For example, you'll want to list your business as "Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning Austin TX" or "Sustainable LA Fashion T-shirts from Organic Cotton" rather than just "Dry Cleaning" or "Cotton T-Shirts".

Don't ignore image titles and alt text. Greening the keywords associated with your images will increase the ranking of your products in image searches. Finally, avoid Google penalties by keeping keyword integration natural. Don't force keywords where they don't belong and don't keyword stuff.

2. Green your local links. Local link building may be a modern business imperative, but it's also a tall order for small businesses. Links drive referral traffic, increase brand visibility with your target audience, and boost your online reputation. But building quality local links is time-consuming and, for many small businesses, can feel like more effort than it's worth. Good news for green businesses: take a short cut to link building success by getting your business listed in local business directories and news organizations that promote green businesses. Get started with GreenMeLocallyGreen America National Green Pages, and Greenopia, an independent rating system for eco-friendly local businesses in major cities across the United States.

3. Green your social media. Carry this "green" approach through to your social media accounts. Remember, most content on social media should hit an 80/20 mix of interesting, shareable content with persuasive call-to-actions. Brands can sometimes struggle with what type of "interesting content" to share in the 80% group. Make yours all about sustainability! Highlight green initiatives in your community. Showcase other (non-competitors) offering innovative, eco-friendly products. Share tips to help your customers go green. Ask your followers to share their top tips for going green. If being eco-friendly and sustainable is a brand value, you need to be showcasing this value in your social media content.

Bottom line:

Wear your business's commitment to sustainability and eco-friendliness with pride! From keyword optimization to local link building, a green SEO strategy will help your business stand out in a crowded digital marketplace and build traction with the right customer base.

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