I analyzed 100 climate tech websites. Here’s what I learned about their SEO.
By Rebekah Mays
Published on May 17, 2023
I analyzed 100 climate tech websites to better understand how climate tech companies use SEO to scale their companies.
Specifically, I was curious to see which factors would contribute the most to higher traffic performance.
I supplemented data from SVOV’s portfolio of 100 climate tech companies with additional insights from SEO software tools, and then interpreted the data.
Let’s see what the data revealed!
A quick summary of what I found:
- Organic search traffic for the 100 websites ranged from zero all the way to 52,600 visits per month.
- Of the top 10 performing companies, 7 were in the growth stage, while 3 were in Series A+.
- Of the 15 companies with zero organic search traffic, 12 were seeds, 2 were Series A+, and 1 was in the growth stage.
- While growth stage does play a role, the dollar amount of funding the startup raised had only a weak correlation with how much traffic their website brought in.
- There was, however, a strong correlation between the number of pages on their site and the monthly search traffic volume.
- The top 10 performing websites ranged from 92 pages to 19,000.
- All 15 websites with zero organic search traffic had 10 pages or less.
- There was almost no correlation between the number of backlinks the websites have, and their monthly search volume.
Breakdown of the 100 climate tech websites
When I began digging into SVOC’s list of 100 climate tech companies, I was curious how it would all shake out.
Out of the 100 websites, 56 of them belonged to companies in the Seed phase. 28 were of companies in Series A or higher, and 16 were of companies that had advanced to the Growth phase.
Seven different industries were represented in the 100. These included manufacturing, food and agriculture, buildings systems, transport, energy, MRV (measurement, reporting, and verification), and circular economy.
Together, food & Ag and manufacturing represented more than 70% of the companies.
Traffic performance across the 100 websites
There was a huge range of traffic performance across the 100 companies, with 15 websites bringing in no organic search traffic, and another 10 sites bringing in less than 5 estimated visits per month.
On the other end of the spectrum, the highest-performing website Formlabs brings in an estimated 53,000 organic visits per month. Other top performers include Food & Ag brands NotCo and Perfect Day, bringing in an estimated 6,500 and 5,000 visits per month from organic search.
Across the 100 websites, the average search traffic was 947 organic visits per month, while the median was 43 visits per month.
70% of the top performers had made it to the growth stage
In my analysis, I defined the top 10 performing websites as websites with the most organic monthly search volume according to data from Ahrefs and Semrush.
7 out of 10 of these top performers were startups that had reached their “growth” stage, meaning they now have a consistent customer base and revenue. The other three websites belonged to companies in Series A+.
As we’ll see in a moment, I later calculated that the overall amount of funding a startup had received only had a weak correlation with the organic search volume.
This indicates growth stage and organic traffic volume are linked, but that the growth stage does not necessarily cause more organic traffic. (In fact, it may well be the other way around!)
80% of the bottom performers were startups in the seed phase
15 websites out of the 100 had zero organic search traffic, and another 10 websites had less than five organic search visits per month.
Out of the 15 websites with no organic search traffic at all, 12 of these were companies in the seed stage, while 2 were Series A+ and 1 was in the growth stage.
More funding does not always mean more traffic
It seems logical that the more funding the startup has, the more organic traffic they are likely to have, since you need funding in order to create large volumes of content. But this wasn’t necessarily true.
There was only a weak correlation (r = .3) between dollar amount the startup had raised in and the organic traffic volume they brought in.
There could be many reasons for this. It’s very possible, for instance, a well-funded climate tech startup might spend the money on any number of investments besides SEO and content creation.
But more pages *does* mean more traffic
On the other hand, there was a strong correlation (r=.9) between the number of pages a startup had published and indexed on their website and their monthly organic traffic.
Out of the top 10 performing websites, the lowest pages published was 92, while the highest number of pages indexed was a whopping 19,000. (I had to exclude Formlabs from the graph below because it was such an outlier.)
Compare that to the bottom performers. All 15 of the websites with zero traffic had 10 pages or less. In several cases the startup only a home page and nothing else.
More backlinks do not mean more traffic
One of the more surprising findings was the relationship between backlinks and monthly organic traffic. Traditionally, “backlinks” a website has received from other websites are seen as a sign of a website’s quality and help a website rank higher and bring in more traffic.
I expected to see that more backlinks would correlate with more organic traffic, but there was almost no correlation (r = .1) between the two.
This could be an indication that backlinks are becoming less important of a ranking factor, which stacks up with what Google and industry professionals are saying. Or, it could simply be that this backlink metric didn’t take into account the quality and relevance of backlinks, which is important for search engines to use it as a ranking factor.
How I did the research
I used data publicly available in SOSV’s list of 100 climate tech businesses for 2023, including Crunchbase figures for funding. I pulled backlink data for each website using Ahrefs and organic monthly traffic traffic by averaging estimations from Ahrefs and Semrush.
To find pages published and indexed, I used the number of results that appeared when searching Google with the “site:” function.
One of the websites produced a 404 error and so I excluded its traffic from the data set. A few of the other websites 301 redirected to other websites — in these cases, I took organic traffic data from the destination website.
Create more content — but if you want to drive business value, make it good
Overall, it was fascinating to see that of all the factors I looked at, the factor with the biggest impact on the amount of traffic a climate tech was not funding, but the number of pages published and indexed.
More pages published and indexed means more content, more keywords, and more chance of ranking.
Of course, in this study I looked at traffic, and not at the revenue that traffic actually generated. While we all want more traffic, we should keep in mind that not all traffic is created equal. To drive both traffic and business value, your content needs to speak to the needs of your audience and ensure it’s solving a need.
Do this in enough volume, and you’ll be much more likely to bring in customers that will help scale your climate tech startup.
Ready to scale your climate tech company?
We’ve just seen that if you want to bring in more organic search visitors to your climate tech site, you need more content.
SEO content is our specialty at One Generation. We can help you create the lay the foundation you need to start bringing in more organic search traffic, and more business.
Set up a chat and let’s talk about your growth goals, and how SEO can help get you there.
About the author
Rebekah Mays is the founder and owner of One Generation, a digital marketing agency offering SEO and content “sprints” to grow traffic and leads for purpose-driven B2B brands. Ready for more traffic so you can make a bigger impact? Get in touch.