If you’re considering a career in SEO, having a good understanding of your earning potential will be crucial to charging a fair price as a freelancer, and knowing your worth in job interviews for permanent SEO positions.
In this article, we’ve put together a complete SEO salary guide. You’ll find out how much you can expect to earn in your location at your specific level of experience and expertise.
By the end we hope you’ll have a clear picture of the employment and salary landscape of SEO experts where you are, and have the confidence to demand a salary that’s worthy of your training, skills, and specialist knowledge.
If there’s a particular SEO salary set you’d like to jump to, simply use the clickable menu:
- Are SEO specialists in demand?
- Average SEO salary by job title in the U.S.
- Average SEO salary by job title around the world
- Average SEO specialist salary by experience
- Key takeaways
Are you ready? Then let’s get started!
1. Are SEO specialists in demand?
The field of SEO has gained significant attention over the last decade, as companies and organizations see the very tangible benefits associated with high ranking search engine results. It’s now widely accepted that companies or individuals seeking to compete in almost any niche require an SEO strategy to stand apart from their competitors.
Due to the results companies have seen from investment in search engine optimisation, SEO specialists are subsequently in very high demand. The skills, knowledge, and experience required to excel in this field have also become more widely valued, pushing up salaries and further bolstering demand for those with the right expertise.
SEO specialists are typically hired to join digital and content marketing teams, but many also build highly successful careers as freelancers, consulting with companies or individuals who seek to improve their SEO performance, grow their reach, and attract more of the right people to their product or website.
Within the marketing team, the SEO specialist works closely with content creators to build content that hits relevant and commonly searched-for keywords in that particular field. By developing content in this way, the marketing team can be sure of attracting their target audience to their website, answering their queries or concerns with high-quality content, before guiding them towards products that solve their problems.
If you’re looking to break into a career in search engine optimization, this is a career that promises considerable variety, growth, and longevity.
Are SEO specialists well-paid?
Determining how well-paid a profession is on a global level can be tricky, due to variable factors such as location, cost of living, and company size. In addition, as SEO is still a relatively new field, the budget for an SEO specialist may vary significantly from one company to another.
This factor will likely depend on the impact SEO has already made on that organization’s traffic, awareness, and growth. Over time, however, it’s likely wages for this role will arrive at a more consistent level as the impact of SEO becomes even more widely recognized.
For those considering a career in SEO, it’s a good idea to do some basic research on wages and the cost of living in your area, and compare different companies’ salary offerings. This knowledge will provide you with a strong benchmark to refer back to when you are going for your first interviews in the field, and give you the confidence to ask for an SEO salary that not only reflects your skills and experience, but that is in line with equivalent job titles in your location.
In a Search Engine Journal survey which questioned over 2,300 SEO professionals from the US, India, the UK, Canada, and a host of other countries, data was collected to build a global picture of SEO salaries as they stood in 2021.
The good news is that globally, 60% of SEO professionals earn at least—or more than—the U.S. median ($57,456 for men and $47,299 for women). A strong 19% of global respondents revealed they earn over $100,000 per year, while a lucky few at the top (3.38%) reported they earn more than $200,000 per year.
The survey also reported that the most common salary bracket for an SEO professional was between $50K and $75K, irrespective of where in the world the respondent was located.
Related viewing: How To Successfully Negotiate Your Salary
2. Average SEO salary by job title in the U.S.
To give you an idea of what you can expect to earn in different SEO positions in the United States, in this section we’re going to run through the average SEO salary for each job title in different U.S states and cities.
The average SEO specialist salary in the United States
An SEO specialist’s goal is to help their company or client rank for keywords, phrases, or terms that, crucially, support the organization’s main business objectives. A specialist might work in a marketing team, for an agency, or freelance in a consulting or short-term capacity.
Find more about the role and its responsibilities in this post: What Is an SEO Specialist? Role Description & Career Guide
Average SEO specialist salary in the United States: $54,429
- New York State: $57,081
- New York City: $71,659
- Pennsylvania: $45,661
- Philadelphia: $66,841
- Texas: $54,630
- Austin: $53,818
The average SEO manager salary in the United States
The role of the SEO manager is to organize and manage a company’s SEO research efforts to influence and guide the digital marketing team’s digital campaigns. This research will also be used to inform the text on the company’s website, social media pages, and any other public-facing, rankable content.
Although an SEO manager will likely have the same goals as the marketing manager, to drive awareness, reach audiences, and increase sales—the SEO manager will come from a more technical background and use this knowledge to inform SEO strategy and marketing campaigns.
Average SEO manager salary in the United States: $72,830
The average SEO strategist salary in the United States
As the job title suggests, the SEO strategist is largely concerned with designing, coordinating, and implementing an SEO strategy as part of the digital marketing team, or for individual clients in a freelance capacity.
The role involves analyzing previous campaigns and researching changes to search engine algorithms to ensure future campaigns can be optimized for maximum efficacy.
Average SEO strategist salary in the United States: $58,091
The average SEO analyst salary in the United States
SEO analysts work with (or within) an organization to increase the amount of relevant traffic to its website. They do this by analysing website performance data and staying up-to-date on constantly evolving SEO trends.
The research performed by an SEO analyst will be used by the digital marketing team to tailor the company’s content output—website, blog, and social media posts—to reach and convert more customers.
Average SEO analyst salary in the United States: $50,064
- New York State:
- New York City: $58,782
The average SEO executive salary in the United States
A role typically offered to those with significant SEO and digital marketing management experience, an SEO executive leads and manages the SEO team in identifying techniques and strategies required to increase a company website’s traffic.
Please note, we’re using the American definition of “executive” here: a senior level position.
Average SEO executive salary in the United States: $44,572
- Wyoming: $90,582
3. Average SEO salary by job title around the world
Let’s take a look at the differences in average salaries for a variety of SEO job roles in some major cities around the world.
Average SEO specialist salary around the world
- Average salary for Germany: €35493
- Average salary in Berlin: €57,149
- Average salary in Munich: €51,632
- Average salary for the United Kingdom: £31,560
- Average salary in London: £39,891
- Average salary in Manchester: £32,407
Average SEO manager salary around the world
- Average salary for Germany: €40,525
- Average salary in Berlin: €41,051
- Average salary in Munich: €47,670
- Average salary for the United Kingdom: £38,181
- Average salary in London: £41,667
- Average salary in Manchester: £34,440
- Average salary for China: ¥234796
- Average salary for Brazil: R$4,727
Average SEO strategist salary around the world
- Average salary in Berlin: €50,923
- Average salary in Ingolstadt: €49,189
- Average salary in Hamburg: €52,046
- Average salary in Munich: €52,082
- Average salary for the United Kingdom: £31,666
- Average salary in London: £35.286
- Average salary in Manchester: £27.607
- Average salary in Paris: €46,605
- Average salary for Australia: AUD $67,500
- Average salary for China: ¥138012
Average SEO analyst salary around the world
- Average salary in Beijing: ¥12.501
- Average salary for Brazil: R$107.018
4. Average SEO specialist salary by experience
The number of years you’ve worked in an industry or a particular role will be taken into account when a recruiter or potential employer makes a salary offer. At the lower end of the salary spectrum will be those newer to the field, but wages tend to increase significantly over time as new skills are on boarded and experience is accumulated.
According to Edoxi’s salary trend report, which forecasts job salaries in digital marketing over the next year, U.S.-based, entry level SEO specialists can expect a starting SEO salary of $35K, mid-career SEO specialists are likely to earn closer to $47K, and experienced SEO specialists will earn on average $65K in 2022.
5. Key takeaways
We hope our SEO salary guide has provided some clarity on both positions in SEO, as well as the salary you can expect to earn at your level of seniority and experience. You should also have a clear idea of wages in the field both nationally and internationally.
Before applying for your first positions in SEO, be sure to do your own research into salaries in your area for similar (or the same) job titles, as this will give you the confidence to request an SEO salary that is reflective of your skills and worth.
If you’d like to learn more about roles in SEO, check out CareerFoundry’s free 5-day course, or check out some of our other articles covering careers in this impactful, fast-growing, and rewarding field: