Ecosia search engine

Autor Anne Romany Anne Romany

Especially in recent years, the importance of climate protection and sustainability has become more and more important. The green search engine Ecosia also makes its contribution to this: with everyday search queries, trees are planted all over the world. You can find out how the concept works here.

What is Ecosia?

Ecosia is a free search service that donates 80% of its profits to environmental projects. The company was founded by Christian Kroll and currently employs over 70 people. In 2009, the search engine was launched at a climate conference. However, you should be careful when using the word search engine, as this is only partially true. More precisely, Ecosia is a search mask that works with the algorithm of Bing. The company’s vision is to focus not on profit but on sustainability. This concept is becoming increasingly popular among users. In the meantime, the search service is one of the ten most popular search engines in the world, available in numerous languages and used by over 20 million people every day.

How does Ecosia work?

For several years, Ecosia has been an official non-profit company, which means that they do not work for profit. Rather, it is about being as sustainable as possible and doing something for the environment. Therefore, Ecosia donates a large part of the profit they make to organisations they work with. This profit is generated by search queries from users worldwide. With the help of a counter, users can see how many trees they have already “planted”. On average, 45 searches correspond to one tree.
The focus of Ecosia is on counteracting the destruction of forests and above all on climate and species protection. To achieve this, local partner organisations plant various trees with the donations from the Ecosia search engine. These are mainly planted in regions that are particularly affected by deforestation, such as the Brazilian rainforest, Indonesia, Burkina Faso or Madagascar. In 2022, a total of about 150 million trees of 900 different species were planted in more than 35 countries. The number of trees is growing by the second. 
Even though the company is currently still using Bing’s search algorithm, it has innovative visions: The goal is to develop its own ecological algorithms. In detail, this means that in future products will be displayed first that have been produced sustainably and through fair labour and payment. In addition, Ecosia discloses its finances, so that users have a high degree of trust and transparency. 
In addition, there is an Ecosia app that enables even faster searches.

Advertising and SEO on Ecosia

Similar to Google, it is worthwhile to place ads and do SEO on Ecosia. Even though it tends to have less reach than the search engines of the big corporations, it should not be underestimated. Young people in particular prefer Ecosia and use it daily. That’s why it’s especially worthwhile to run ads for sustainable products that appeal to this very target group or if an environmentally friendly transformation is the goal. From the SEO perspective of a digital agency, Ecosia is relevant because, like other search engines, it offers the possibility of keyword-optimised marketing campaigns.

Ecosia criticism

Despite the apparently absolutely innovative concept, the company has often come in for criticism. 
On the one hand, this is due to the fact that one cannot save the climate by merely planting trees. Another aspect concerns the concrete mechanism of converting user behaviour into reforestation. The search engine suggests that 45 search queries correspond to one tree. However, this is only partially true. In fact, a tree is only planted when users click on the corresponding ads.  Furthermore, the search mask uses the algorithms of the search engine Bing, i.e. also of Microsoft. Microsoft has set itself the goal of becoming CO2-negative by 2030, but has not yet done so. 
Another point mentioned by critics is a kind of labelling of companies through the search mask. Groups, organisations and companies are given small icons behind their names in the search results that identify them as positive or negative with regard to the ecological aspect. A green leaf symbolises sustainable brands, while a power plant marks those that work with fossil fuels. Some critics see this as public humiliation.  


In summary, Ecosia is definitely a good solution if you use search engines every day and want to do something good for the environment at the same time. The criticisms are not unfounded, but they are taken seriously and optimised. 

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