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How much SEO professionals get paid

How much SEO professionals get paid

Have you ever found out that someone who performs the same SEO job has a better salary?

And how do you know what salary to apply for in an SEO-related job interview, anyway?

The Search Engine Journal has just completed our first State of SEO survey with over 2,643 respondents, largely made up of experienced SEO professionals, with 76% having over 2 years of experience.

We are happy to help inform your understanding of SEO salaries with a sneak peek at our early findings.

We will publish the full results in the first week of September. Read on to find out:

Average SEO salary brackets.SEO salary by job title.SEO salary by years of experience.

SEO average payroll

Benchmarking is a part of human nature. Social comparison theory was first developed in 1954 by psychologist Leon Festinger to explain how individuals measure themselves against others to determine their social and personal value.

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In fact, we’ve been comparing ourselves to others since people first became aware of each other – and SEO professionals are no exception.

Comparing SEO salaries for different positions, experience levels and specializations can be difficult as many companies are smart and have limitations in terms of share pay.

Out of the 2,643 people, 2,393 told us how much salary they earn (250 preferred not to say). So as a first glimpse of this data, we share our findings of SEO salaries and how it relates to experience and job titles.

The majority of our demographic reach was in the US (61%) and India (12%). The UK contributed 3.8% and Canada accounted for 2.4%. The remaining respondents (20%) were spread over 88 other countries.

In terms of SEO salaries, we found that:

60% of SEO professionals earn the same or more than the US median. 40% of SEO professionals earn less than the US median. 19% earn over $ 100,000 a year. 33.3% earn over $ 200,000 a year.

The latest reported data from the US Census Bureau showed median earnings of $ 57,456 for men and $ 47,299 for women working full-time in the United States

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Most of those who work in SEO earn at least the same or well above the median US earnings.

In SEO, it is possible to reach an above average salary of up to $ 149,000, but there is only a small percentage that can achieve $ 200,000 and above. That’s probably after 20 years of experience.

According to 24% of respondents, the most common grade is $ 50,000 to $ 75,000.

The fact that the SEO industry is still relatively young and SEO started with a small group of specialists supports this. Out of our respondents, only 4.17% had over 20 years of experience.

On the other hand, just over 20% earn less than $ 35,000 a year, which is well below the US median.

However, we must consider that our data include respondents from India and other lower income countries. Some of the respondents with lower earnings may come from developing countries.

SEO pay by job title

Are you wondering what your SEO colleagues get paid for different job titles?

30% of junior roles start between $ 35,000 and $ 49,000.32% of executives earn between $ 50,000 and $ 74,000. Most C-level and executives can expect a salary of more than $ 100,000.44% of freelancers earning less than $ 34,000.

By comparing SEO salary and role, we begin to see a clear pattern of salary increase relative to job title (you can see the same trend below for experience level).

Junior SEO roles start at $ 35,000 and rise to between $ 100,000 and $ 149,000 a year for an SEO director.

If we compare our data with other recruitment sites, we can see that there is a clear adjustment in SEO pay by job title.

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Average Salary Guide for SEO by Job Title

RoleMarketing-Ideas surveyGlassdoorIndeedLinkedInJunior (SEO Specialist) $ 35,000-49,000 $ 46,646 $ 52,780 $ 48,000 SEO manager salary $ 50,000-74,000 $ 71,085 $ 78,413 $ 70,000 SEO director salary $ 100,000-149,000 $ 94,451 $ 105,353 $ 102,000 SEO freelancer salary <$ 34,000n / en / en

Data from June 2021. It is important to note that while recruitment sites may advertise the salary of a job, there is no guarantee that the successful job applicant will be paid the advertised amount.

There were two interesting contrasts in this clear linear increase:

First, SEO freelancers had a significantly lower salary than all the other cohorts.

You would expect a freelancer to require a certain level of experience. However, we found that a significantly high 14.06% of freelancers had less than 2 years of SEO experience.

The estimated assumption is that the 12% of respondents from India may have contributed to this high level of freelancers with less experience.

SEO as an industry has a low entry barrier with internet access and a reasonable computer are the only requirements.

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Portal platforms like Upwork have made it easy for developing countries like India to be globally competitive by offering lower hourly rates.

In fact, digital workers from India are now the largest supplier of global labor with 20% of the total share.

The other notable result out of all the cohorts is that the founders had the best chance of earning more than $ 200,000.

There is a 104% increase in salaries from C level and directors to founders.

Want to earn more than $ 200,000 in SEO?

Start your own business.

Many of the best SEO professionals find opportunities and start their own websites and businesses.

In the early days, they earned literally millions at the top of their game (usually with spam techniques), but this stopped in the late 00s when Google managed to curb most of the popular spam techniques.

As online traffic increased, competition and opportunities increased. And then it started all about brand building.

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There is still plenty of room for great ideas and SEO professionals. As mentioned above, working in SEO has a low barrier to entry, so it is relatively easy to start a business with little capital and scale quickly to make a significant profit.

There are some super wise people out there who still make a lot of money out of SEO with their own websites.

SEO salary compared to many years of experience

We also found that wages increase with many years of experience:

27% of SEO professionals earn between $ 35,000 and $ 49,000 after 2-4 years of experience. 32% of SEO professionals can earn a salary of $ 50,000 to $ 74,000 with 5-10 years of experience. After 11-20 years of experience, 25% of SEO professionals earn $ 75,000 to $ 99,000. 17% of SEO professionals earning over $ 200,000 have more than 20 years of experience.

Shows the same pattern that we see in salary compared to job title data, there is a clear tendency for salary increase in relation to years of experience. SEO professionals should find it encouraging and reassuring to:

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You can make more money as you gain more experience. You need many years of experience to earn the top salary.

In the past, SEO has seemed like an easy game where you can earn big profits for a little effort.

In the early days, this could have been more relevant, but today it requires genuine knowledge and intelligence to provide decent returns.

SEO is a lot harder than it used to be.

To be a good search specialist requires deep knowledge of at least one, if not several specialties. The constant development and development requires constant learning and improvement, which I compare with the medical industry for dedication.

It would be disappointing to see a medical student on the same salary as a neurosurgeon.

Is SEO a good career?

Based on the median levels of salary that can be achieved in the industry and the level of progression, SEO is a very good career choice.

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SEO will never die and it will continue to evolve.

“It depends on” 4ever https://t.co/o70lHYg4kb

– 🍌 John 🍌 (@JohnMu) July 4, 2021

We are launching more insights and the full state of the SEO report in early September.

Do not miss it, sign up for our email list to get first access to the report!

More resources:

In-article images created by the author, July 2021.

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