Are "green" keywords still relevant?

"Green" feels so '90s to me, but some Google searchers still type it into their queries. Green- words like "green marketing," "greenwashing," "green products" and "green building" are still popular.

Are "green" keywords still relevant?

"Green" feels so '90s to me, but some Google searchers still type it into their queries.

A quick brain dump about green- words

Green- words like "green marketing," "greenwashing," "green products" and "green building" started to appear in the 1990s. This was the era of opportunism when marketers realized they could charge more for eco-friendly alternatives to regular products and services. For me, the word "green" still signifies something that's better for the environment than the "conventional" approach, but this wordplay also has a lot of problematic connotations.

When green marketing became popular, it gave "green" products the air of elitism, as they came at a higher price. And the pricing doesn't seem warranted if it means less, rather than more processing.

For instance, organic products and whole foods actually require less inputs into the end product, and customers can often see through the flawed logic of unfair pricing which charges a higher premium for these natural things.

After all, many middle-class adults in the 1990s grew up with parents who made food from scratch, unlike my generation, which returned to cottage industries in a backlash against highly processed foods.

Are these foods "green" or are they simply unprocessed and the baseline norm? The answer depends a lot on whether you come from the white U.S. middle-class (speaking for myself), where the late capitalist mind games made us feel like unprocessed food was the exception rather than the rule.  

Obviously, green products require a lot of explaining in terms of their processes and pricing to get people to buy in.

Now, of course, broader systemic changes are occurring thanks to the global aim of shifting to a low carbon economy. So there's more of a shift to subsidize "green" things and allow them to overtake conventional processes. Yet, it feels somewhat like a return to bygone normalcy, in spite of it being framed as an innovation.

I feel like I've gone off on a tangent, so let's turn back to SEO.

From an SEO perspective, I became curious to see whether "green" words are still popular. Green energy, greenwashing, green building, and green living are all pretty popular keywords, but they're quite competitive search terms. I've found a few others that are worthwhile as keyword opportunities.

3 SEO blogging quick tips for this trend

  1. With green- words, most of the blog posts tend to be definitional, expository articles similar to encyclopedia entries. You can literally write "What is X?" into the titles of these posts and call it good. It's boring, but effective for attracting organic traffic, because this question is exactly what people type into the search bar.
  2. People are generally familiar with the meaning of the word "green," as environmentally-friendly. But color words come with lots of other connotations. Watch out for unwanted associations with money, envy or design uses of the word.  
  3. That said, you can also co-opt some of the alternate uses and infuse those phrases with your own eco-friendly meaning. For instance, "green foods" is a popular search term, and so is "green aesthetic." Don't be afraid to bridge the searcher's intent of the actual color green with your own double-meaning.  

Top 3 low-difficulty keyword opportunities

Here are some "green" words that are getting lots of attention these days.

  • Green aesthetic (106K, 2KD, $0.06)*
  • Green energy stocks (12K, 40KD, $3.5)
  • Green infrastructure (3.2K, 27KD, $4.5)
  • Green marketing (2.3K, 24KD, $8)

*I would jump on this keyword opp, if I wrote for a client working in design. I'm including it as an extra, because the search intent isn't exactly what I was looking for (it's purely about color-themed collections on Pinterest). As I mentioned, though, you can play off the searchers' expectations with such a good traffic opportunity.    

High performing article examples

Samples of my own work linked to this trend

Coming up next week, you'll receive highlights on another popular keyword trend: Sustainable intimate products.

***Sustainability Traffic is a weekly newsletter written by Erica Eller. Its aim is to help sustainable companies improve their blogging content strategy with trend overviews, SEO tips, recommended keywords, and blog post case studies.

Each week I present a specific sector or trend within sustainable business and share details on SEO blogging for that field. Even if your business isn’t in the field you can learn from the examples.

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