Q and A: What salary should I expect as an SEO?


Dear Kalena…

What salary would i have if i were to get hired as an SEO or SEM? on average hourly and annual


Hi Cruiz,

A great question – and one often asked by people just entering (or considering joining) the SEO community.  As you’ve probably anticipated, it’s not really possible to provide a definitive answer to this question, as the salary rates you could expect,  depend on a number of variable.  I’ve outlined below some of the most significant factors that are likely to influence SEO or SEM salaries :

  1. Location – you’ve not identified which part of the world you are from, but this can have a significant impact on Salary levels.  Salaries in the US and UK, are typically higher than those in Australia, which are usually higher again than those in India (which has a massive and thriving SEO industry by the way).  Hot Spots within a particular country are also likely to offer higher salaries that are based on the usual factors – such as cost of living, lifestyle, and competition.
  2. Organisation – whether you are working In House,  within a specialist SEO Agency or as a private Consultant , will also influence you salary.
    For In House SEOs, the size of the business, and their awareness/acceptance of the importance of SEO will influence what they are prepared to pay.  Some SMBs are not able (or willing) to justify  a full time SEO role, so Search Engine Optimisation might be seen as something that is done by the Web Developer or Marketer in their spare time.
    The salary for In House SEOs in large organisations (with SEO teams) is broadly comparable to that of the salary for an equivalent role within a specialist SEO Agency (although the Agency SEO is likely to have the opportunity to deal with a broader range of clients and experiences) .
    Salaries for private Consultants can vary dramatically – from the highest salaries for recognised SEO Gurus to the (probably) lowest hourly rates for relatively inexperienced start-up SEOs.

    [Editor Note: You might also want to review the salaries and jobs categories in this blog to get a good idea of the type of salaries that SEO/SEM staff can command. My article 11 Reasons Why You Should Consider a Job in Search Engine Marketing also lists some common salary ranges. Cheers, Kalena]

  3. Role – there  are many different types of roles and activities within the SEO Industry, some people focus on one particular role, others undertake the complete range of activities.  Typically the more experienced you get in a particular area, the more specialised you become, and the higher salary you can expect.  Types of roles include – Strategist, Consultant, Analyst, Researcher, Writer.
  4. Experience – I say experience here rather than qualification, because there is not currently an internationally  recognised  SEO qualification (although given the increasing awareness of the SEO industry – this may change in the future).  SEO Course’s such as those offered by Search Engine College are a fabulous way to gain an understanding of this field, and provide a valuable insight into SEO techniques, strategies and tips.  However, experience – dealing with customers in real world situations is probably the single best way to justify a higher salary.  Being able to demonstrate real success with high profile clients in competitive industries, proves your experience and abilities.
  5. Profile – the better you are at raising your profile in the industry, the higher salary you can expect.   A high profile is usually (but not always) a natural result of experience and confidence.  If you are outspoken in the industry – through blogging, involvement in forums, attendance and presentation at industry events, etc. your reputation will develop. If it is clear that you understand the industry and know what you are talking about; if you offer useful advice and innovative strategies; and if you can demonstrate your ability to achieve real results for your clients, you may be on your way to “SEO Guru” status gathering followers (and an increased salary) along the way.
  6. Supply and Demand – as in all things, supply and demand will influence the level of salary you can expect.  If you have few competitors for a particular role you are likely to be able to demand a higher salary – providing you have suitable experience.  Supply and demand changes from time to time and is influenced by many things including geographic location , unemployment rates, and the financial climate.
    In these days of financial uncertainty, with many businesses tightening up their budgets,  you might speculate that the demand for SEOs would decrease.  However, the reverse seems to be true.  Many SEOs are in fact  experiencing an increase in work levels, as business owners realise that they need to get smarter about how to develop their businesses and spend their marketing budget.

Rand Fishkin of SEOMoz wrote an excellent post on this topic ( see : SEO Salaries – How Much Should You Make) – however this was written in 2006 – and now, 3 years on, the annual salary figures are almost certainly higher.  (how about an update Rand?)

Search Engine Optimisation is a role requiring specialist knowledge and experience, and as such you should expect to achieve a higher salary than a more traditional web or marketing role.  Some of the factors outlined above are outside your control (unless you are willing to move to another part of the world for example), but one factor that you are able to influence is experience.  Getting some good basic SEO Training and undertaking some Search Engine Marketing Courses (through Search Engine College of course) , doing some Research, and gaining Experience (even if it is only on your own/friends websites initially) is the best way for you to improve you salary prospects.

Andy Henderson
WebConsulting Web Optimisation

Top 10 Dumbest Social Network Sites

After being inundated with what I call “invitaspam” day after day from obscure social networking sites, today I’ve finally had enough.

An invitation to join a site called Scribd from somebody I didn’t know was the straw that broke this particular camel’s back and I decided to bitch about it on Twitter by creating my list of Top 10 #dumbsocialnetworks:

“I’ve been sent too many invitaspams lately so fighting back. Here’s my Top 10 list of #dumbsocialnetworks, in reverse order, Letterman style”

Here they are:

  • 10 – No. 10 of the Top 10 is Scribd a “social community sharing original writings with friends, family & the world.” VOMIT
  • 9 – Sitting in spot 9 of the Top 10 is Ecademy “Market your business & get found on Google” because you can’t do that on own?
  • 8 – At number 8 in my list of Top 10 dumb social networks is Gooruze “a ranked advice community”. The concept is ok but I just CAN’T get past the name.
  • 7 – Number 7 is WAYN. Yes, in caps. Makes me imagine I’ll be greeted on the site by some guy with plumber’s crack, wearing stubbies and holding a beer.
  • 6 – In position 6 of my Top 10 is Yedda“Actively finding the best answers from the most relevant people”. Shame that many of those people are spammers.
  • 5 – Sitting at number 5 is Unyk. An online address book for people who don’t know how to use Gmail.
  • 4 – At number 4 of my Top 10 #dumbsocialnetworks is Naymz, who like to use retro spam. Specifically, keyword stuffing and lots of it.
  • 3 – Number 3 on the list is Plurk. Tired of your other social networks? Spam friends, family and complete strangers with endless Plurk invitations!
  • 2Grouply is our Number 2 on the Top 10 dumbest social networks. Hand over your Yahoo ID & they’ll override your privacy settings & data mine your info, yay!

And drumroll please for the Number 1 on my Top 10 dumbest social networks list…

  • 1 – Claiming the number 1 spot for dumbest social network is Plaxo: “Hi, I’m updating my address book for the nth time today. Please take a moment to scream”

I’m not alone in my hatred of Plaxo. Apparently it was voted one of the 20 most annoying tech products in 2007. Thankfully, the self-updating address book company decided a couple of years ago to stop clogging up our In boxes with those super annoying contact update request emails.

Oh and before you’re tempted, the next person to send me a Plurk invitation gets Plaxoed in the head.

Google’s Chrome OS Should “Just Work”

Google’s planned operating system for Chrome should “just work”. That’s the claim by Sundar Pichai, Google’s Vice President of Product Management in the official blog post announcing the OS today.

Having suffered the Windows Blue Screen of Death many times, the idea of a fail free OS is seductive, but ultimately unrealistic. Given this is Google’s first foray into the OS territory, it’s bound to be a bumpy ride and I’m guessing there will be numerous buggy releases for developers to bitch about before a truly useful version is sprung on the public. Chrome Screen of Death anyone?

This hasn’t stopped the predictable comparisons being made with Windows Vista and the naive speculation that Google’s Chrome OS could be a Windows Killer. Ha! If only it were as simple as building an operating system that just works. If it was as easy as that, Linux would have killed Windows years ago.

What’s more interesting than whether it will just work is the response to the news on social networks. Within a couple of hours of Google’s announcement, *Google Chrome OS* was the #1 trending topic on Twitter. People came up with numerous amusing hashtags about the OS, including #WillitKillWindows and my personal fav #allyourpcsbelongtous.

The Google Chrome Operating System will be available to web developers later this year and potentially available to consumers in the second half of 2010.

You can read more about the so called Just Work OS on my blog at SiteProNews: Google Announces their own Operating System and in Danny Sullivan’s post The Google Operating System is Real.

Q and A: Where can I find domain name registration information?

QuestionDear Kalena

I am looking for a listing of all registered domain names. I have on and off searched Google but to no avail. I know it does exist. May be you can help and send me a link to that directory? In fact, I did run into it about a year back but at the time I did not put it in my favorites. I guess I should have? Thank you in advance for your help.

Thank you,


Hi Eskay

I’m guessing what you’re looking for is a site that automatically locates the registration details and/or availability of a particular domain name and returns all available data in a viewable format? That’s commonly known as a WhoIs Lookup.

There are scores of these that you can use. My personal favs are: Mark Monitor’s Allwhois and Dotster’s WhoIs Lookup.


Q and A : I’ve lost 1000 backlinks – is my site now permanently damaged?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have a site which has lost about 1000 back links, they were weak back links (repetitive links from same domain).

My question is this: is the site now permanently damaged or is it possible I can get it ranking again?


Dear Louie

No the site is not permanently damaged – you’ll most-likely find that since the links were poor quality, and site-wide, a bulk of them probably weren’t even being counted in the first place.

Not all links are equal and the better quality (ie. more authoritative, trust worthy, relevant etc. ) the fewer links you’ll need to achieve the same results.

Jim Boykin explains this nicely in his post about Why that site with 50 backlinks beats your site with 1000 backlinks where he quotes:

It’s not always “He with the most links” who wins the game……often, “He with the right links” can win the game as well. Really, very often, he with the right 10 links can beat the guy with 1000 of the wrong links – I see it all the time.

So all you need to do is go out and find some decent links and you’ll be fine. If I were you, I’d consider this a good thing to be rid of the old crumby links and a golden opportunity to start building a better inbound link profile.

Hope this helps

Peter Newsome
SiteMost Search Engine Optimisation