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How much does a SEO beginner make?

Author, Hayden Russell
January 4, 2023

30 Sec Answer: The salary of an SEO beginner depends on their experience, skill set, and geographic location. In the United States, a beginner in SEO can expect to make between $40,000 and $70,000 per year.


Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving website visibility in search engines such as Google and Bing. It involves creating content that is optimized for keywords, building links from other websites, and analyzing data to track progress. As a result of these efforts, businesses can get more organic traffic to their websites which can result in increased revenue and brand awareness.

In recent years, SEO has become one of the most sought-after digital marketing skills. Companies around the world are looking for professionals with expertise in this field who can help them increase their online presence and reach new customers. But what does a beginner in SEO make? Let’s take a closer look at how much you can expect to earn as a newbie in the field.

Factors That Determine Salary

There are several factors that will determine your salary when starting out as an SEO professional. These include your experience level, skillset, education background, certifications, and geographic location.

Experience Level

When it comes to experience level, entry-level SEO professionals typically have 1-3 years of experience in the field or have completed a relevant degree program. Those with 4+ years of experience may be considered intermediate level or even senior-level depending on their specific qualifications. Generally speaking, those with more experience tend to command higher salaries than entry-level SEOs.


Your skillset is another important factor that will affect your salary as an SEO beginner. Technical skills like coding, analytics and link building are very valuable for this role. Having knowledge about topics like user experience design and conversion rate optimization is also beneficial for success in SEO. Additionally, strong communication and writing abilities are essential for working with clients and creating effective content campaigns.

Education Background & Certifications

Having a related degree from a college or university is usually preferred by employers for entry-level positions in SEO. In addition to having formal education, there are also certifications available from organizations like Search Engine Land or Bright Edge that demonstrate proficiency in certain aspects of SEO. Those who possess both formal education and certifications often find themselves commanding higher salaries than those without either of these credentials.

Geographic Location

The cost of living varies significantly across different cities and states within the United States which can have an impact on your expected salary as an SEO beginner. For example, someone located in San Francisco or New York City may command higher wages than someone located in Detroit or Kansas City due to differences in cost of living expenses.

Average Salary Of A Beginner In SEO

Now that we’ve discussed some of the key factors that affect an entry-level salary for an SEO professional let’s look at some average figures for beginners in the US:

  • According to Glassdoor, the average base pay for an entry-level SEO specialist is $49,528 per year (as of October 2020).

  • PayScale reports that the median salary range for entry-level jobs in search engine optimization is between $40k-$70k annually (as of October 2020).

  • ZipRecruiter states that the average annual pay for an entry-level SEO analyst is $53k (as of October 2020).

    Factors That Impact Earnings Potential

    It’s important to remember that these numbers are just averages and individual salaries will vary based on a variety of factors including job title, company size/type/location etc.. Here are some additional considerations that could affect earnings potential:

    Company Size & Type

    The size and type of company you work for can have a significant impact on your expected earnings as an SEO beginner. Generally speaking, larger companies tend to pay more than smaller ones due to greater resources being available for marketing initiatives. Similarly, working for a well-known brand can also open up doors for better paying opportunities compared to working at a startup or local business where budget constraints may limit pay scales accordingly.

    Job Title & Responsibilities

    Another factor that affects income potential is job title and responsibilities associated with each role. For example, while “SEO Analyst” may sound similar across different companies there could be stark contrasts between what’s actually expected from employees at each organization which could affect payouts accordingly. Working as an “SEO Manager” versus simply an “SEO Specialist” could mean earning thousands more per year due to added responsibilities and decision making authority associated with each position respectively so it pays off (literally!) to inquire about job titles before accepting any offer!

    Performance Bonuses & Benefits Package

    Performance bonuses offered by employers play an important role when it comes to expected earnings for entry-level employees too so it’s always worth asking if any sort of incentive programs exist during negotiations if applicable. Furthermore, benefits packages should not be overlooked since they could add thousands onto your annual salary when taken into consideration (especially if offered by large corporations). Common benefits include health insurance coverage (which can save you hundreds each month alone), vacation days/time off allowances etc… so it pays off (again literally!) to keep these things top-of-mind when searching for employment opportunities!


    To summarize: the salary of an SEO beginner depends on their experience level, skillset, education background/certifications earned, geographic location and job title/responsibilities accepted along with performance bonuses offered & benefits package provided – all factors that must be taken into account when considering prospective offers made by employers! On average however according USA data sources mentioned above – beginners in this profession typically fall within the range of $40k-$70k per annum so best of luck on finding the right opportunity suited specifically towards meeting your own personal needs & goals!

About the Author:


My name is Hayden Russell. I am the owner of Revenue Raccoon which is a digital marketing agency near Fort Worth, TX. I've been involved with some form of internet marketing since I was 10 years old making money through a semi-viral YouTube video that I made. This got me hooked on making money through the internet. Nowadays, I focus on helping local businesses use the power of Search Engine Marketing (SEO, SEM) to efficiently generate more demand for their business. Some examples of companies I've worked with are Moody AC Repair and LeadEasily.

While some claim to get quick wins with SEO they are often using blackhat tactics that will end up wreaking havoc on your site's rankings. I don't cut corners or use shady tricks. I do things the hard way and get my clients long-lasting results.

Owner, Revenue Raccoon

Hayden Russell

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