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Old 03-14-2006   #1
Joseph Morin
 
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Moderator Note: Split from SEM Hiring 101

ClickZ has some SEO/SEM salary information in their SEO mailbag today. I think they are getting closer but I have still seen salaries quoted much higher than what is listed in the article.

Last edited by dannysullivan : 03-15-2006 at 12:48 PM.
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Old 03-15-2006   #2
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Wow... what an eye opener. Thank you for posting that article.

(salaries mentioned are in US dollars I assume?)
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Old 03-15-2006   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Morin
ClickZ has some SEO/SEM salary information in their SEO mailbag today. I think they are getting closer but I have still seen salaries quoted much higher than what is listed in the article.
agreed. Thanks for the update.
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Old 03-15-2006   #4
Sebastien Billard
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Well I wish there could be such salaries in France...

I am a SEO/SEM workin in a webagency, 5 years experience, writing articles, blogging, conferencing a little (like in the SES in Paris) and I make only 20.200 euros a year (24.300 USD)

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Old 03-15-2006   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndsay
Wow... what an eye opener. Thank you for posting that article.

(salaries mentioned are in US dollars I assume?)
Yes US Dollars.
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Old 03-15-2006   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastien Billard
Well I wish there could be such salaries in France...

I am a SEO/SEM workin in a webagency, 5 years experience, writing articles, blogging, conferencing a little (like in the SES in Paris) and I make only 20.200 euros a year (24.300 USD)
haha perhaps this is why your boss spends so much time in Nice and Monaco.
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Old 03-15-2006   #7
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Yeah, but you are in Paris...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastien Billard
Well I wish there could be such salaries in France...

I am a SEO/SEM workin in a webagency, 5 years experience, writing articles, blogging, conferencing a little (like in the SES in Paris) and I make only 20.200 euros a year (24.300 USD)
Sebastien, You are in Paris - that alone is worth a 100K per year!
Lucky....!

Salaries ... it also depends a lot, on a size of company you work for. I am a full timer on SEO/SEM for a big company (non-management, 3 years) and the salary is really good.
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Old 03-15-2006   #8
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Numbers seem low...

I'm in a greement with Joe, I've seen numbers higher than this at both ends of the spectrum. In particular, the starting point seems a bit low to me.

I'm a full-time, in-house SEO and we're doing salary research now. Based on what I found, if you're a large company (fortune 500 level) and want a somewhat experienced SEO, we're looking at a starting rate of about $90,000 (based on the midwest cost of living). From there it goes up. For a few years of experience and a bit of talent, you're at about $120,000+.

I was told by an industry A-lister that a well-known department store was looking to pay about $80,000 and the SEOs they called about the job laughed. Food for thought if you're after good talent.

I'm beginning to wonder if a lot of the inconsistency among in-house salaries is likely because most of us are home-grown. We came from diverse backgrounds and areas of the company. Typically if you stay within a company, you don't see a massive bump just because you get dropped into a newly created position. Most of the in-housers I speak to fell into the role from another, yet related, discipline.
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Old 03-15-2006   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Morin
Yes US Dollars.
I thought it was in Euros... damn dollars that is not that good...
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Old 03-15-2006   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seminhouse
I'm in a greement with Joe, I've seen numbers higher than this at both ends of the spectrum. In particular, the starting point seems a bit low to me.

I'm a full-time, in-house SEO and we're doing salary research now. Based on what I found, if you're a large company (fortune 500 level) and want a somewhat experienced SEO, we're looking at a starting rate of about $90,000 (based on the midwest cost of living). From there it goes up. For a few years of experience and a bit of talent, you're at about $120,000+.

I was told by an industry A-lister that a well-known department store was looking to pay about $80,000 and the SEOs they called about the job laughed. Food for thought if you're after good talent.

I'm beginning to wonder if a lot of the inconsistency among in-house salaries is likely because most of us are home-grown. We came from diverse backgrounds and areas of the company. Typically if you stay within a company, you don't see a massive bump just because you get dropped into a newly created position. Most of the in-housers I speak to fell into the role from another, yet related, discipline.
Amex was offering $95k base with bonuses up to 15% of salary and options.
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Old 03-15-2006   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieWebmaster
Amex was offering $95k base with bonuses up to 15% of salary and options.
Where is the Amex job based?
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Old 03-15-2006   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sebastien Billard
Well I wish there could be such salaries in France...

I am a SEO/SEM workin in a webagency, 5 years experience, writing articles, blogging, conferencing a little (like in the SES in Paris) and I make only 20.200 euros a year (24.300 USD)
Hmmm, that's indeed not much... I'm from France and yes, salaries ain't the highest in the world, but with 5 years of experience, you should be making more! What do you do exactly? Do you provide SEO to your agency's clients or do you do SEO for your webagency's site? If you're willing to make money and to relocate, you can always try to work in the UK.
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Old 03-15-2006   #13
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Quote:
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Where is the Amex job based?
New York City
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Old 03-16-2006   #14
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I personally know of 3 companies last year that were recruiting for the VP of Search level at $250K+ with the top one willing to go as high as $315K. All of these however were a mix of base comp plus bonus and/or performance based commissions.

Another thing I have seen is generous equity being thrown into the mix to sweeten the pot with options spread out over 3 - 4 years in an effort to actually keep the SEO/SEM with the company since a lot of companies experience high turnover with all of the poaching going on for very talented SEO's.

I mean it isnt hard to ascertain the talent level of the in-house SEO, just by looking at Hitwise, Comscore and Alexa improvements, keyword positioning, and pages indexed over time by the major engines. Once a very well optimized property has been identified, the recruiters and poachers start dialing for dollars.

Think about it, if a serious SEO/SEM strategist has been able to generate millions in profits for an enterprise level site, then what does it really cost a company serious about SEO to throw the person that got them there a few hundred thousand a year? Its found money anyway. Especially with the knowledge that a talented SEO/SEM could easily make that much on their own consulting or running their own sites?
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Old 03-16-2006   #15
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After reading this thread I initially was all Then I checked XE and became . After adjusting for exchange rate, the stated salary range converts accurately to Australian SEM, although it'd be interesting to see if the article was quoting strictly big city salaries or across the nation.

Alas, I don't think I've seen many VP-Search positions (or roles of that seniority) in Australia, so I can't comment on the upper echelon.

Last edited by shor : 03-16-2006 at 01:52 AM.
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Old 03-16-2006   #16
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I feel these salaries are very dependant on the product or service your marketing for company in-house. If your working for a shopping search engine responsible for driving traffic from the SE to the website for 1000's of products, that would lead to millions in revenue, this salary tag will be drastically different than driving traffic to website that sells steaks and lobsters online.

Same thing goes when pricing job for a out-source quote.
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Old 03-16-2006   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marek
Sebastien, You are in Paris - that alone is worth a 100K per year!
Lucky....!

Salaries ... it also depends a lot, on a size of company you work for. I am a full timer on SEO/SEM for a big company (non-management, 3 years) and the salary is really good.
Well am not in Paris but in Lille, near belgium border. But I am sure many inhabitants of Paris would think living in California, Australia or London is worth 100K

Concerning the size of company what you say is true, I am in a little agency (7 people). Salaries would be perhaps higher as an independant or in a bigger company...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nadir
Hmmm, that's indeed not much... I'm from France and yes, salaries ain't the highest in the world, but with 5 years of experience, you should be making more! What do you do exactly? Do you provide SEO to your agency's clients or do you do SEO for your webagency's site? If you're willing to make money and to relocate, you can always try to work in the UK.
Well, we do SEO for some of our website creation clients, but also do SEO as an independant service. I do both, manage around 20 clients permanently, from little companies to big firms, manage some Adwords campaigns, follow the SE news, writes articles...

I don't think to leave France though, as I am attached to my country. I could perhaps work in Belgium as it is 20 min away

Last edited by Sebastien Billard : 03-16-2006 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 03-16-2006   #18
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Math is wrong

Someone posted a blog that entry level is $30-40,000 year and that's about $10 an hour. That math is totally wrong. $10 an hour comes to about $22,000 a year. $30-$40,000 a year is about $13-$19 an hour. In North Florida entry level pay is in the low to mid $20's a year.
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Old 03-16-2006   #19
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I believe the $10 an hour reference was that "someone was lloking to pay $10 an hour for SEM work, and that position also had t answer the phones" - at least, that's what i recall from reading the article...

Reagrdless of the money, etc., one key point I think is worth taking away is this:

Being a well trained, experienced, successful SEM is a valid career choice right now. And these skills will translate into a viable, continuing career in the future.

I tell folks all the time to start learning now - heck, I'll teach them 90% of what I know...
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Old 03-16-2006   #20
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I tell folks all the time to start learning now - heck, I'll teach them 90% of what I know...
Hey Duane,

Thats actually funny but a great point, its long been understood that its that 10% that makes the difference between a good campaign and a great one.

People often ask me, "What happens when all of my competitors have SEO's in house - then what" and my reply is that it then becomes a chess match pitting one strategist against another and those that come out on top...are the ones worthy of those salaries at the top end of the pay scale.

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