In the world of digital marketing, one topic that continues to spark debate is the compensation for SEO professionals. It’s disconcerting to see that many SEOs undervalue themselves while companies often fail to recognize the true worth of these experts. This misalignment creates a perplexing catch-22 situation for SEO salaries.
As a follow-up to my popular post on LinkedIn in which I discuss SEO salaries, I firmly believe that SEO salaries should reflect the level of expertise and experience brought to the table.
I suggest the following salary ranges:
- 0-1 year experience (entry, intern, etc.): $60k-$75k per year or $30-$39 per hour
- 1-2 years experience (Strategist, Specialist, etc.): $80k-$90k per year or $40-$45 per hour
- 3-5 years experience (Lead, Manager, Sr Manager, Tech SEO, Content SEO, Product SEO Manager, etc.): $90k-$115k per year or $45-$55 per hour
- 5-10 years experience (Sr SEO Manager, Director): $140k-$185k per year or $65-$90 per hour
- 10-20+ years (Director, VP, Consultant, etc.): $200k-$249k per year or $100-$120 per hour (or more)
When determining the appropriate SEO salary range, it’s crucial to consider factors such as company/role size/type (e.g., Startup, Medium, Fortune 500, or Agency vs. In-house). Additional components like bonuses, stock options, and benefits should also be factored into the overall compensation package.
To illustrate the application of these ranges, let’s consider two scenarios:
- An SEO Manager with 3 years of experience, working as an individual contributor at a medium-sized company with 500 employees (which has yet to go public). In this case, the SEO Manager should earn a minimum of $90k per year, along with stock options and benefits. Total Compensation (TC) would amount to $110k per year.
- An SEO Manager with 3 years of experience managing a team of 2 other SEOs at a Fortune 500 company should make $115k per year, in addition to stock options, bonuses, and benefits. TC would amount to $140k per year.
It’s worth noting that the background of one’s experience should also be considered when determining salary. For instance:
- An SEO professional with 4 years of experience managing their own freelance work should receive compensation within the lower range based on their title, company size/type, and responsibilities.
- An individual who spent 3 years as a Content Manager at Facebook, Google, or Amazon and subsequently worked as a full-time SEO at an agency for 2 years before transitioning to a medium-sized company deserves a higher salary range, along with bonuses and benefits.
Geography is deliberately excluded from this SEO salary discussion. Having lived as a U.S. citizen ex-pat in Nepal for several years and now residing on an island just outside of Seattle, WA U.S., I firmly believe that no one should suffer a pay cut due to their choice of location. Skills and experience hold the same value regardless of where one lives.
In conclusion, it is high time that SEO professionals recognize their true worth and demand salaries that reflect their expertise. Simultaneously, companies must acknowledge and reward the immense value SEOs bring to their organizations. We can only foster a thriving and innovative SEO community through fair and equitable compensation.
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