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What salary can you expect from a career in SEO

Those who are looking to move into the world of search engine optimization are likely to be wondering just what makes this field so great. There are plenty of answers to this question: it’s a fascinating form of work, and it combines skills in everything from strategic planning to writing and editing. 

However, one of the reasons why many people choose this career is because they are interested in the prospect of earning money. There are certainly some highly paid jobs in the SEO world, although it’s not necessarily the case that the job you find will be well paid. Some jobs, especially those at entry level, are not as well paid. 

There’s no one firm answer to the question of how much money you can expect to earn if you pick up a career in SEO, but you can start to benchmark the options, and also work out what is likely to cause a job in the sector to be better paid than others. You can also start to take steps to improve your SEO career too and improve your chances of becoming well paid. This blog post will lead you in this direction. 

What the figures say

The first place to start when working out what sort of salary you’re likely to be able to expect from a career in SEO is with the figures. The bad news is that there’s no one single place to look to find the most conclusive figures; those who are interested will have to look in multiple places.

The good news, however, is that you can refer to a variety of sources to get as holistic a picture as possible. For example, you can look on a site such as Talent.com to see what they’re saying. According to that site, SEO specialists can earn around $58,500 a year, which works out to around $30 per hour. You can then go to other sites, such as Glassdoor or Indeed, to see what others are saying, and calculate an average.  

Different variables

However, taking the above averages as gospel is certainly not the right move. In fact, it’s also important to note that there are different variables involved when it comes to working out the likely salary you’ll be able to command if you work in search engine optimization. 

Those who are more senior in their career are, of course, likely to be able to command higher salaries because of the higher levels of responsibility and pressure that they take on. Talent.com, for example, says that it’s highly possible for those who are at the more senior end of this industry to take home over $80,000 each year. Those who are just starting out, though, can expect to see well under $50,000 per year.  

As in many industries, the compensation for your role can vary depending on the geographical location you’re in. Many major cities with big marketing sectors and high costs of living, such as New York City, are more likely to push up salaries a little to meet local demand. However, it’s not always true that those who live in big cities are the only ones who receive big SEO salaries. The rise of freelance and remote working has meant that people can pick up some SEO jobs from anywhere. While it might not be those who are involved in entry-level SEO content writing work, an entirely remote SEO agency could pay its mid-level and senior staff high amounts no matter where they are based. 

Giving your career a boost

However, it’s important to remember that the above points apply in general terms. They’re not necessarily going to be useful to your specific situation, especially given that the power often lies with you to improve your own career and situation. The good news is that there are several ways that you can give your career a boost and potentially open doors to an improved salary when it comes to SEO. 

Some people decide to give their SEO careers a boost by getting a qualification in marketing. This could help give you an edge in front of employers, and it certainly gives you something distinctive. However, there are lots of people with marketing degrees, and it’s also not necessarily SEO-specific. Combining your marketing degree with some work experience at an SEO agency or in an SEO-related position is one way to make your marketing degree stand out even further. 

It could also be worth your while to investigate the prospect of studying for an SEO-specific qualification, or at least some sort of continuing professional development in the area. This has the advantage of specificity, as it shows your knowledge and skills of SEO in particular, without you having to commit to years and years of degree studies. 

You could also get the best of both worlds by studying online. That way, you’re able to pick up SEO skills and qualifications without having the commitment of going into a physical location. An Online Master’s in Marketing from a known institution such as Emerson is one way to do it, and could increase the ease with which you can fit your new qualification around your current commitments.

In short, you’re never going to find a simple answer to the question of how much you can earn if you work in SEO. On the contrary, there are lots of different determinants of how much a career in SEO can lead you to earning: it depends on the geographical area you’re in, the level of seniority you’re at, your qualifications and more. This is not set in stone either. As this article has shown, you can also enhance your earning potential by investing in your own career through marketing qualifications, continuing professional development and much more.