The SEO Weekly

How Much Does It Cost to Rank for a Single Keyword? - Episode 80

Where queries are weird, advice is controversial, and everything depends.

How much money across SEO, Content, and development would it cost to rank for a single keyword? It depends. Everything depends. But this week we took a deep dive to examine why it depends and why an expensive single page might be worth the investment if it pays off 60x your investment and millions of dollars.

We also discussed a few new Google AI-powered search tools, a couple of new SGE studies that indicated the Healthcare industry is likely to be impacted the most, and a cool SEO roadmap template.


Host: Garrett Sussman | Demand Generation Manager 

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Will Google’s AI Overviews (SGE) tank your organic traffic?


  • Threat Level by Snapshot Type: Local, eCommerce, Desktop, and Mobile will have a different impact on your organic traffic. Which types are appearing for your keywords?
  • Threat Level by Result Position Distribution: Your visibility within AI Overviews can indicate the likelihood of organic traffic. Where in the Snapshot do your links appear?
  • Automatic AI Overviews vs Click to Generate: Will your audience be force-fed AI Overviews or will that extra click to generate the snapshot save you from missing out on traffic?
  • Threat Level by Snapshot Speed: Slow AI Overviews load times might not impact your organic visibility. How fast do AI Overviews load?

Show notes / References:

Google/SERP Updates:

New ways to search in 2024 – Google

Google introduced two new ways that we’ll be able to search that incorporate AI into the process.

  1. Circle to Search – On an Android phone, you can draw around any object on any app and an AI-powered Google search result will pop up. This will reduce the friction of information and commercial discovery while using apps in your normal flow. The commercial impact could be useful. Easily search for a product that you see being used on a tv show, by an influencer, or even by a friend.
  1. Visual + Voice – improving Google Lens with AI, you will be able to use your phone’s camera and ask a question about the image that’s being viewed. Now you can introduce natural language questions more easily with the real world around you. Ask specific questions about plants, local businesses, local news as you see it unfold in front of you.

Google continues to roll out these new AI-enhanced search features. The big question is the extent to which people will adopt them. Google claimed that searchers use Google Lens 8 billion times per month. Will they use these tools?

Britney Muller of DataSci101 posted on X her interest in Google’s AI experimentation going forward:

One of the interesting threads that came out of this announcement was the back and forth between Greg Bernhardt, Lyndon Nelson-Allen, and Cindy Krum on how this is another search feature that Google won’t provide attribution tracking data for. They highlight how Google has not been transparent with the source of searches in the past for other SERP features, and this will continue to make the job of SEOs harder to prove performance productivity.

Google Product Review Spam Study Natzir Turrado

Natzir shared a study performed by some German analysts who concluded that well-optimized yet unhelpful product review content has become a major issue for Google (and all other search engines). It seems that crappy AI-generated affiliate content has been able to dominate some SERPs and Google has struggled to remove it despite the recent Spam Updates that they’ve deployed. The study gives credence to the claim that search results are getting worse unless Google can figure this problem out.

The Ultimate Guide to Google SGE – BrightEdge

BrightEdge analyzed over 1 billion queries and analyzed the appearance, details, and nuances of SGE in SERPs across 9 industries. They identified that the Healthcare industry would be impacted the most by the current state of the AI snapshot, while Financial Services would be hit the least.

5 Research-Backed SGE Insights All SEOs Should Know – Mark Traphagen – SEOClarity

Mark cautions that we’re unlikely to see this version of SGE in the public SERPs. It will look very different. But you can still learn a ton from what Google has been experimenting with.

Read the entire article but Mark’s TL:DR summary includes:

  1. Rankings totally different [high impact]​ -Keywords that show up in the AI Snapshot have a different ranking process than organic SERPs.
  2. Local results sub par [low impact]​ – He’s critical of the Local version of the AI-snapshot.
  3. Shopping results limit traffic opportunities [high impact]​ – Limited products and lack of ‘best of lists’ will have a big impact on affiliate and eCommerce brands.
  4. Top of funnel research useful (but you may be left out!) [high impact]​ – You need to figure out how to appear in the AI snapshot for informational queries because these will be more useful to searchers than the organic SERPs. 
  5. Intent sometimes “off” [low impact] –  SGE doesn’t always understand intent and sometimes doesn’t take into consideration your location, language, or other parts of the search journey. A poor experience.

And as a reminder, iPullRank offers our SGE Threat Report to analyze how your targeted keywords and rankings may be impacted by the snapshot with projected traffic losses.

The Impact of Google’s SGE & What to Do About it [With SGE Traffic Risk Assessment Sheet] – Aleyda Solis

Aleyda has created a helpful manual tool to track your own high priority keywords and the current state of SGE. Her Google spreadsheet can be copied for free and used to map out which specific keywords are at risk and what to do.

X Post of the Week

Annoying SEO Logic – Cyrus Shepard

Cyrus calls out the SEOs who complain about one anecdotal example that they argue disproves an SEO strategy or tactic. It’s typically flawed logic in the context of billions of SERPs. Statistically, your one example doesn’t prove anything.

How Much Does It Cost to Rank for a Single Keyword? – Garrett Sussman (H/T Gaetano Dinardi) – iPullrank  

Inspired by a post from Gaetano DiNardi about how the cost of ranking for a keyword is expensive as hell, but the ROI is worth it. I took a deep dive into an actual Financial Services example that highlighted how a $55K investment could deliver a 60x ROI of $3.6M.

Check on the entire post to see how I break it down.

How Entities are Shaping the SERPs and What That Means for SEOs – Genie Jones – Advanced Web Ranking

We talk about Entity SEO and Semantic SEO at iPullRank a lot. (If you’ve never seen our full webinar on the topic. Check it out.) It’s fundamentally the way that Google understands content and relationships.

Genie breaks down what Entities are, how to check if Google identifies your targeted entities on your digital properties, and how you can improve entity recognition with structured data schema markup.

How to Create an SEO Roadmap: Connecting the Dots Between Strategy & Success – Tory Gray and Heather Kaeowichien  – Gray Dot Company

In this comprehensive breakdown, Tory and Heather explain how you can take your SEO strategy and craft an actionable roadmap. They offer specific projects to tackle, timelines, and how to prioritize what will move the needle for your business. They also provide a great free downloadable spreadsheet template for you to use.

State of Technical SEO 2024 Survey – Women in Tech SEO and Aira

For the past couple of years, Areej AbuAli and Paddy Moogan have run an incredible technical SEO survey with expert analysis from the Women in Tech SEO community. They are launching round 3 and collecting survey results now. Please participate!


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