SEO Specialist Salary

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The profession of an SEO specialist is in great demand today, which is confirmed by the numerous queries on Google. Internet users are interested in everything related to the activities of an SEO specialist, from the necessary skills to the salary such a specialist would earn.

The popularity of SEO Specialist Salary peaked at the end of 2020. It is noteworthy that the demand for knowledge of the nuances of an SEO specialist’s work and his salary rose in 2016, but interest has now tripled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, users see a benefit in the fact that SEO experts can work both in the office and remotely (which does not affect the salary in any way). This is important given the possible quarantine or lockdown restrictions still in effect in certain places.

According to Google Trends, the salary of a search engine optimization specialist is a query often searched for in the following regions: Saint Helena, Laos, the Netherlands, Nepal, and Vietnam. This suggests that this profession is becoming popular in developing countries – business is increasingly in need of optimization specialists.

Apart from salary, there are other frequent inquiries on this topic. The top 5 phrases that users look up with the help of Google are as follows:

  • SEO specialist Wouter Van Der Meij
  • How to become an SEO specialist
  • SEO specialist Karim Medana
  • Beste SEO specialist Wouter Van Der Meij
  • SEO specialist Montreal

They are also diligently looking for information about the salaries, innovations and achievements of the leading representatives of the SEO direction, showing a desire to learn from the best.

Entry-level SEO Specialist salary

What salary can an SEO professional ask for at the start of their career? A newcomer’s salary in the US is roughly $42K per year. Some services specify a salary range of $19K to $60K, but, in reality, an entry-level specialist will earn from $35K to $45K for 12 months of work.

This amount can be received by recruits who practice for up to one year. Great news: the rate can rise already in the first year of activity. The employer’s location plays an important role, alongside the skills acquired by the young specialist and the level of qualifications they have. Territoriality predetermines a lot: sometimes entry-level specialists can receive salaries even higher than mid-level professionals in other regions. This is surprising and motivating.

For example, in New York, entry-level professionals receive almost 20% more income than in other states. However, this is more of an exception than the rule. After analyzing the vacancies on ZipRecruiter, we can see the discrepancy in payout across the different American states.

The numbers are compared to the income of aspiring SEO specialists in other states.

Let’s compare the annual SEO salary in different companies:

  • SimpleView – $35K
  • TopSpot – $43.374
  • Merkle Inc – $43.977

It follows that if SEO professionals want to get more than their peers, it is not enough to change the location in which they work simply. However, we would argue that you need to improve your professional value constantly to be able to strive for the highest income you can.

Junior SEO Specialist salary

Do you already have experience in the profession? First, let’s find out everything about income. A junior SEO specialist in the US gets about $48K annually. To qualify as a junior SEO specialist, you need to have had at least 1 to 4 years of experience in the field.

In contrast to the earnings of optimization beginners, at the junior level, fees differ significantly. Especially if you consider the location criterion, the difference can be up to $23,000 per annum. This is typical of New York or Chicago.

In other regions, the difference in salaries is insignificant – up to 7%. The highest bidders are “young influencers” based in San Mateo, CA and Boston, MA. If you choose a place of work and are ready to move, we advise you to consider the vacancies here.

Let’s compare the salaries of junior search engine optimization specialists in different corporations:

  • Levy Online (Las Vegas, NV) – $50K annually
  • Zero Company Performance Marketing (Seattle, WA) – $55- $70K
  • Blue Media Marketing Inc (San Diego, CA) – $58- $62K

We propose to estimate the average salaries of specialists to improve the efficiency of search engines in cities and states of America.

TownPayment per hourPay per weekPayment per monthPayment per year
San Francisco, CA$26$1062$4250$51K
San Jose, CA$25$1000$4000$48K
Santa Maria, CA$24$958$3833$46K
Tanaina, AK$24$948$3792$45,500
Alexandria, VA$25$1021$4083$49K
Castle Rock, CO$26$1042$4167$50K
San Antonio, TX$25$994$3975$47,700
Bayonne, NJ$27$1083$4333$52K
Fremont, CA$27$1069$4275$51,300
Portland, OR$24$969$3875$46,500

Keep in mind that the concept of a search engine specialist implies a wide range of qualifications: director of search engines, site search, technical specialist in search engine tuning, and others. They earn much more than an ordinary junior-level representative. On average, their annual salary is about $30K higher – a great stimulus for growth.

Mid-level SEO Specialist salary

An intermediate talent can claim approximately $54K in the United States of America. This level of qualification assumes a working experience of 4 to 9 years in the profession.

The most prosperous cities are Santa Clara, CA, San Francisco, CA, and Fremont, CA. In general, the salaries of mid-level specialists do not differ too much when comparing between states and cities. But if you are determined to receive more, you can find employment in megacities in highly developed states.

As an example – in Chicago, IL, you can get:

  • $47 – 60K – National General Insurance Company
  • $60 – $65K – CyberCoders
  • $60 – $90K – Chartis Interactive LLC

Let’s compare the mid-level SEO specialist’s annual fees across different locations.

TownPayment per hourPay per weekPayment per monthPayment per year
Santa Clara, CA$34$1354$5417$65K
Sunnyvale, CA$31$1250$5000$60K
Santa Maria, CA$31$1229$4917$59K
Wasilla, AK$29$1146$4583$55K
Atlanta, GA$28$1104$4417$53K
Tucson, AZ$30$1208$4833$58K
Burlingame, CA$32$1302$5208$62,500
Germantown, MD$30$1194$4775$57,300
Bayonne, NJ$33$1333$5333$64K
Fremont, CA$32$1283$5133$61,600

The table helps to conclude: the highest salaries are received by professionals in the state of California.

Senior SEO Specialist salary

Now let’s talk about the monsters of the industry. The salary of a senior search improvement specialist is approximately $85K per year. However, in practice, professionals with 9-10 years of experience get much more. Often their fees start from $100K and more – depending on unique skills, responsibilities, geolocation. Plus, sometimes seasoned experts run an entire SEO team, which doubles or triples their salary.

Compare the annual numbers offered to senior job seekers in Illinois:

  • $80K – Vintage King Audio, Bannockburn, IL
  • $90 – 100K – NP Digital, Chicago, IL
  • $150K – Parts Town, Addison, IL

Here is the average income of a senior SEO expert across different American cities.

TownPayment per hourPay per weekPayment per monthPayment per year
Northbrook, IL$49$1979$7917$95K
Seattle, WA$46$1854$7417$89K
San Francisco, CA$48$1917$7667$92K
Austin, TX$45$1802$7208$86,500
Phoenix, AZ$46$1823$7292$87,500
Jackson, WY$53$2125$8500$102K
Naperville, IL$62$2500$10,000$120K
Norwalk, CT$47$1875$7500$90K
San Diego, CA$64$2562$10,250$123K
Oakland, CA$60$2410$9642$115,700

Senior SEO salaries can go up to $200K per year. Impressive? However, it all depends on your efforts and professional qualities.


Are you determined to become a qualified professional and earn $100-200K annually? Then, be aware that you will have to make titanic efforts: constantly study, delve into the laws of the market, master modern trends, etc. First of all, you must be well versed in such specializations as:

  • Search and clustering of keywords.
  • On-page website optimization.
  • Off-page optimization, link strategy creation.
  • Understanding what good content is.
  • Analysis of website conversion and user behavior.
  • Analysis of large amounts of data.
  • Knowledge of Google spreadsheets formulas.
  • Proficiency in Google Search Console, Ahrefs, and Plerdy tools.
  • Ability to find growth points for SEO-targeted traffic.
  • Good understanding of HTML, CSS
  • Creation of simple scripts in JavaScript.

The Individual Google Analytics Certificate is a significant plus in SEO karma. Remember that successful SEO specialists know how to think analytically, quickly process terabytes of information, and understand statistics. This is the minimum list of competencies and techniques that you need to master to qualify for good earnings in this area.

Check jobs regularly on popular web platforms and research business requirements. You will clearly understand how much entrepreneurs are willing to pay SEO specialists and what they are willing to pay for. Who knows – maybe you will become one of those gurus whose surname is entered by debutants in a search engine.

Article by:
CEO Andrew Chornyy

CEO Plerdy — expert in SEO&CRO with over 11 years of experience.

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