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U.S. SEO Salary Ranges: 2024 Report

SEO Blog
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Our analysts recently conducted a meta-analysis of publicly-available reports on salary ranges for various SEO job positions. We then rank-ordered them by seniority and placed them into the table below along with Minimum Education Required, Growth Potential, and a Description of the position. 

The data from this table ranges from Q1 2021 to Q2 2023, and a sampling of companies from small businesses to enterprises.

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In-House SEO Position Salaries – 2024

Job Title Salary Range Minimum Education Required Growth Potential Description
Junior SEO Executive $45,000 – $53,000  High School High   A Junior SEO Executive supports an SEO department, typically consisting of a web developer, content writers, and marketing manager, by maintaining a content calendar, performing keyword research, and helping with content generation. This is typically an entry-level position at a small business. 
SEO Specialist  $52,000 – $65,000 SEO Certification Moderate An SEO specialist is responsible for overall SEO strategy, keyword selection, and advising on content marketing, typically under a marketing manager. This position usually exists at small businesses that rely on organic search such as an e-commerce company. 
Senior SEO Specialist $58,000 – $72,000 College / SEO Certification High A Senior SEO Specialist differs from an SEO Specialist in that they tend to work at a midsize company (e.g. a $10M-$200M services business), and are integrated into a slightly larger team, consisting of a VP of Marketing, 1-3 content writers, and a paid media specialist. 
SEO/SEM Specialist $61,000 – $75,000 College High A combined SEO/SEM specialist is a combined position that handles both paid and organic search. They are generally employed at smaller companies, (e.g. an energy consulting startup) that requires an individual who can handle multiple roles on the fly, and works with at most 1-2 other marketing team members.
SEO Content Specialist $46,000 – $58,000 High School Moderate SEO content specialists are content writers who are part of a larger SEO department at an enterprise, (e.g. a $1B+ electronics manufacturer). This is typically a junior position that works closely with an extensive marketing team consisting of strategists, graphic designers, paid media, and SEM specialists to ensure the enterprise presents a unified message across organic search, social media, and traditional advertising platforms.
Senior SEO Strategist $62,000 – $80,000 High School High A Senior SEO strategist is responsible for managing SEO strategy at an enterprise, (e.g. a $1B+ revenue department store chain), working under a VP of Marketing to manage SEO strategy, perform keyword research, and work with SEO content specialists to optimize content for search intent.
SEO Manager $68,000 – $83,000 College High An SEO manager is a position at a midsized company (e.g. a law firm) that is responsible for coordinating SEO in a combined strategist and project manager role. This is typically a mid-level position that works under a marketing director, and oversees 1-3 other team members.
SEO Director $75,000 – $92,000 Advanced Marketing Certification High SEO directors are the enterprise counterpart to SEO managers, working directly under a VP, Marketing or VP, SEO. They oversee SEO for 1-2 topic areas or markets, or in support of a specific product line.
Global SEO Director  $110,000 – $185,000 Advanced Marketing Certification High A Global SEO Director works at a multinational enterprise of at least 1,000 employees. Their job entails building an SEO strategy; establishing KPIs; collaborating with the web development, paid media, and social media teams; and managing an SEO team that includes content creators, graphic designers, and technical staff.  
Head of SEO $71,000 – $108,000 Advanced Marketing Certification High A Head of SEO is a management position, typically at a midsized company. It involves setting the SEO strategy, developing KPIs or OKRs, and collaborating with individual contributors handling content and web development. This position is parallel to a Head of Social Media Marketing and usually reports to a VP, Marketing. 
VP, Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  $85,000 – $125,000 Advanced Marketing Certification High A VP, Search Engine Optimization is a specialized position at a large enterprise that strongly values SEO, e.g. a large e-commerce brand. The job responsibilities include approving an SEO strategy, selecting and managing SEO tools, maintaining KPIs solely for the organic search channel, and managing content creators.  

SEO Agency Position Salaries – 2024

Job Title Salary Range Minimum Education Required Growth Potential Description
SEO Consultant $65,000 – $90,000 High School High An SEO Consultant is a freelancer who handles SEO strategy, technical optimization, and basic content for a small number of clients. SEO consultants often work with freelance writers, graphic designers, and web developers.
SEO Account Manager $52,000 – $85,000 College High An SEO Account Manager is a client-facing representative at an SEO company who acts as a point of contact and project manager for 2-4 clients’ SEO campaigns. Account managers generally work with a strategist, 1-2 content writers, and technical SEO specialists.
SEO Strategist $64,000 – $85,000 College High Strategists at SEO agencies are responsible for creating a comprehensive SEO strategy. They will conduct client and competitor analysis, keyword research, and evaluate search intent so that thought leadership writers can create high-level content.
SEO Content Writer $41,000 – $65,000 High School Moderate An SEO Content Writer is a writer at an SEO company who produces basic content with a keyword focus. This is a junior position that works with an account manager and a technical SEO specialist.
SEO Thought Leadership Writer $60,000 – $83,000 College Very High An SEO Thought Leadership Writer is a writer at an SEO agency who is responsible for creating expert-level content based on a deep understanding of keyword search intent. SEO thought leadership writers work closely with SEO strategists, web developers, and graphic designers.
SEO Analyst $58,000 – $71,000 Basic Marketing Certification Moderate An SEO Analyst is an individual contributor responsible for selecting and justifying new keywords; interpreting search intent; and analyzing the body of an SEO page or article to ensure best practices are met in terms of rankability, conversion, and user experience.
Link Builder $38,000 – $59,000 High School Very Low A Link Builder is a position that is now only found at lower quality SEO firms, link builders handle outreach to other blogs and content creators to secure backlinks for client accounts. This style of link building was prevalent in the early 2010s, but is no longer applicable under Google’s current algorithm.
Technical SEO Specialist $45,000 – $69,000 Technical Certification Moderate A Technical SEO Specialist is a web developer at an SEO company who updates existing pages to incorporate MPTs, schema markups, and optimizes page speed.
Full-Stack SEO Web Developer $67,000 – $102,000 College High A Full-Stack Web Developer is a web developer at an SEO agency who executes complete builds of new websites for clients, including the website’s design and its choice of CMS and marketing automation software. Full-stack developers also work with content writers and SEO strategists as they implement keyword strategy and create on-page content.

Projected Future Growth of SEO Industry Careers

With the advent of Large Language Models (LLMs) and other AI innovations, SEO is changing. Certain positions whose day-to-day responsibilities can now be handled by a chatbot will become less common, while others, which rely on idea generation, creativity, and executive function will increase in importance. Here are a few popular SEO positions in 2024 that are set to change dramatically over the next 5 years.

  • SEO / Thought Leadership Writer. In the near future, basic content (e.g. “What is Cyber Insurance?”) will be commoditized, while content that contains genuine insight, original design elements, and other higher value elements will become more in demand. Thus, the Thought Leadership Writer, who is a true expert in their domain and operates more in the domain of ideas than expository information, will be highly sought after.
  • SEO Strategist. The SEO strategist’s value is in their understanding of which keywords will attract prospects and what those prospects are seeking when they type in the keyword. Both those ideas require a strong understanding of human behavior and psychology, and when implemented at the highest level, allows SEO campaigns to rise to their highest ROI potential. While certain keywords will not require human answers in today’s age of AI, the ones that do are the most valuable, and thus, the SEO Strategist’s job is more relevant today than ever. 
  • Content Writer. With basic content a commodity, content writers must either transition into thought leadership writers, or into editors for AI-generated content. Those in the latter position will be responsible for reviewing and delivering generated content for more accounts than they wrote for, leading to an overall decline in total number positions available despite an overall increase in written output.
  • Technical SEO. Modern CMSes and web building tools are now able to implement many optimizations automatically and with little technical knowledge required. These tools will continue to obviate the need for a dedicated technical optimizer that is unable to meet the needs of a company who wishes to invest in a full website build or redesign.
  • Link Builder. Link building is a relic of the days when Google’s algorithm was less sophisticated and procuring links through paid directory submissions, press releases, sponsored blog posts, dubious academic scholarships, and the like was a thriving practice. Those practices were never sustainable, but today they have almost no utility. The only reason link builders still exist is because many companies aren’t aware of the ineffectiveness of artificial link building practices. Link builders have largely been replaced by PR professionals and Thought Leadership Writers, who each attract links in sustainable ways. 

Utilizing data from Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn Salary Insights, we plotted the growth trends for all SEO jobs in order to project the positions that will be in highest demand by 2028. The results are below. 

Highest Growth Potential SEO Jobs by 2028

Rank SEO Job Projected Growth by 2028
1 Thought Leadership Writer 185%
2 Global SEO Director 147%
3 VP, SEO 132%
4 SEO Strategist 117%
5 SEO Consultant 93%

Lowest Growth Potential SEO Jobs by 2028

Rank SEO Job Projected Growth by 2028
1 Link Builder -86%
2 Technical SEO Specialist 3%
3 Content Writer 13%
4 SEO Account Manager 16%
5 SEO Consultant 34%

Seeking a Career in SEO

The SEO industry is projected to grow significantly over the next 5 years, with the majority of that growth taking place in strategic and creative positions. Over the past 8 years, more sophisticated web design tools have automated many technical optimization processes, and in the near future low level, generalized content and design will be replaced by generative AI tools. 

The highest growth positions by contrast will be those that require a high degree of judgment and creativity, as demonstrated by the projected growth of jobs such as thought leadership writer compared to that of more basic content writing positions. Growth in these positions will also be paralleled by the growth of excellence-focused agencies such as First Page Sage when compared with more average-quality SEO firms. If you’d like to learn more about the SEO industry you can reach out via our contact form, or learn more about our current openings here.

Evan Bailyn

Evan Bailyn is a best-selling author and award-winning speaker on the subjects of SEO and thought leadership. Contact Evan here.