How Much SEO Pros Get Paid

Have you ever came upon that somebody doing the identical SEO job has a greater wage?

And how are you aware what wage to request in an SEO-related job interview, anyway?

Search Engine Journal has simply carried out our first State of SEO survey with over 2,643 respondents largely consisting of seasoned SEO professionals, with 76% having over 2 years of expertise.

We’re excited to assist inform your understanding of SEO salaries with a sneak peek at our early findings.

We’ll publish the total ends in the primary week of September. For now, learn on to find:

  • Average SEO wage brackets.
  • SEO salaries by job title.
  • SEO wage by years of expertise.

SEO Average Salary Brackets

Benchmarking is a part of human nature. Social comparability principle was first developed in 1954 by psychologist Leon Festinger to elucidate how people measure themselves in opposition to others to find out their social and private value.


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In actuality, evaluating ourselves to others has been happening since people first grew to become conscious of one another — and SEO professionals aren’t any exception.

Comparing SEO salaries for various positions, ranges of expertise, and specializations may be troublesome as many firms are coy and have restrictions about sharing remuneration.

Out of the two,643 individuals, 2,393 advised us how a lot wage they earn (250 most well-liked to not say). So, as a primary glimpse at this information, we’re sharing our findings of SEO salaries and the way that pertains to expertise and job titles.

The majority of our demographic vary was within the U.S. (61%) and India (12%). The UK contributed 3.8% and Canada made up 2.4%. The remaining respondents (20%) had been unfold throughout 88 different nations.

As far as SEO salaries go, we discovered that:

  • 60% of SEO professionals earn the identical or greater than the U.S. median.
  • 40% of SEO professionals earn lower than the U.S. median.
  • 19% earn over $100,000 per 12 months.
  • 3.38% earn over $200,000 per 12 months.

SEO Average by salary bracket

The final reported information from the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed median earnings of $57,456 for males and $47,299 for ladies who labored full-time within the U.S.


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The majority of those that work in SEO earn at the very least the identical or nicely over the median U.S. earnings.

In SEO, it’s achievable to achieve an above-average wage of as much as $149,000, however there’s solely a small share who can obtain $200,000 and over. That’s most certainly to be after 20 years of expertise.

The most typical wage bracket is $50,000 to $75,000, in keeping with 24% of respondents.

The indisputable fact that the SEO trade remains to be comparatively younger and SEO began out with a small group of specialists helps this. Out of our respondents, solely 4.17% had over 20 years of expertise.

On the opposite aspect, simply over 20% earn lower than $35,000 a 12 months, which is method beneath the U.S. median.

However, we have to take into account that our information consists of respondents from India and different lower-income nations. Some of the lower-earning respondents could also be from creating nations.

SEO Salary by Job Title

Wondering what your SEO friends are paid for varied job titles?

  • 30% of junior roles begin between $35,000 and $49,000.
  • 32% of managers earn between $50,000 and $74,000.
  • The majority of C-level and Directors can anticipate a wage better than $100,000.
  • 44% of freelancers earn lower than $34,000.

SEO Salary by Job Title

By evaluating SEO wage and position, we begin to see a transparent sample of wage improve in relation to job title (you possibly can see the identical development beneath for stage of expertise).

Junior SEO roles start at $35,000, and rise to between $100,000 and $149,000 per 12 months for an SEO director.

If we evaluate our information to different recruitment web sites, we are able to see that there’s a clear alignment in SEO wage by job title.


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SEO Average Salary Guide By Job Title

RoleSEJ surveyGlassdoorIndeedLinkedIn
Junior (SEO Specialist)$35,000-49,000$46,646$52,780$48,000
SEO supervisor wage$50,000-74,000$71,085$78,413$70,000
SEO director wage$100,000-149,000$94,451$105,353$102,000
SEO freelancer wage<$34,000n/an/an/a

Data from June 2021. It is vital to notice that whereas recruitment websites can promote the remuneration for a job, there isn’t any assure that the profitable job applicant is paid the marketed quantity.

There had been two attention-grabbing contrasts on this clear linear improve:

First, SEO freelancers had a significantly decrease wage than the entire different cohorts.

You would anticipate {that a} freelancer would require a sure stage of expertise. However, we discovered {that a} significantly excessive 14.06% of freelancers had underneath 2 years of expertise in SEO.

The estimated assumption is that the 12% of respondents from India could have contributed to this excessive stage of freelancers with lesser expertise.

SEO as an trade has a low barrier to entry with web entry and an inexpensive laptop being the one necessities.


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Portal platforms reminiscent of Upwork have made it straightforward for creating nations reminiscent of India to be aggressive on a worldwide scale by providing decrease hourly charges.

In truth, digital employees from India are actually the most important provider of world labor with 20% of the overall share.

The different stand-out end result, out of all cohorts, is that founders had one of the best probability to earn greater than $200,000.

There is a 104% improve in wage from C-level and administrators to founders.

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

Start your individual enterprise.

Many of one of the best SEO execs will discover alternatives and begin their very own web sites and companies.

In the early days, these on the prime of their recreation had been actually making thousands and thousands (normally with spam methods) however this stalled on the finish of the ‘00s as Google managed to curtail most of the popular spam techniques.

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


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There is still plenty of room for good ideas and SEO professionals. As mentioned above, working in SEO has a low barrier to entry, so it’s comparatively straightforward to begin a enterprise with little capital and scale shortly to make a substantial revenue.

There are some tremendous sensible individuals on the market nonetheless making a lot of cash out of SEO with their very own web sites.

SEO Salary Compared to Years of Experience

We additionally discovered that salaries do improve in step with years of expertise:

  • 27% of SEO professionals earn between $35,000 to $49,000 after 2-4 years of expertise.
  • 32% of SEO execs can earn a wage of $50,000 to $74,000 with 5-10 years of expertise.
  • After 11-20 years of expertise, 25% of SEO execs earn $75,000 to $99,000.
  • 17% of SEO professionals incomes over $200,000 have m0re than 20 years of expertise.


Average SEO salary by years of experience

Showing the identical sample we see in wage in comparison with job title information, there’s a transparent development for wage improve in relation to years of expertise. SEO execs ought to discover it encouraging and reassuring that:


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  • You can earn extra money as you achieve extra expertise.
  • You do want years of expertise to earn the highest wage.

In the previous, SEO has appeared to some a simple recreation the place you may make huge positive aspects for little effort.

In the early days, this may need been extra related however at the moment, it takes real information and intelligence to make first rate returns.

SEO is rather a lot tougher than it was.

To be an excellent search specialist requires deep information of at the very least one if not a number of specialties. The fixed evolution and improvement require fixed studying and enchancment, which I liken to the medical trade for dedication.

It could be disappointing to see a medical scholar on the identical wage as a neurosurgeon.

Is SEO a Good Career?

Based on the median ranges of wage achievable within the trade and the extent of development accessible, SEO is an excellent profession selection.


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We can be launching extra insights and the total State of SEO report at the start of September.

Don’t miss out, join our e-mail listing to get first entry to the report!

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In-article photographs created by creator, July 2021.

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