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Corporate SEO salaries?
I think I'm getting screwed...
SEOMike




msg:339351
 2:31 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Grettings all-

Seems to me that most SEO is done by private contractors / speciality firms. I work for one such speciality firm. I have gotten fed up recently with my boss giving just barely enough money to survive, so I started looking around. I saw that salaries for SEOs at companies was $65,000 - $80,000 (adjusted for Cost of Living in my area). I think I'm getting screwed.

The company makes enough money to pay me fairly. (Our boss makes more than all 5 of his employees combined, if that tells you anything about him) Oh, did I mention I'm the manager of all SEO accounts and an employee?

Anyone care to give income ranges that work for corporations? It's hard to establish an industry standard salary (like the designers and programmers here do for their pay) when you are in such a specialized niche.

[edited by: SEOMike at 2:35 pm (utc) on May 17, 2004]

 

walkman




msg:339471
 8:40 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

"any programmer or computer worker in general is not required to be paid overtime "

is this because the "compassionate conservative" changed it, or was it like this before too? It sucks. Especially when refusing to work overtime might cost your job...

ergophobe




msg:339472
 8:40 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEOMike

I don't want a political debate

I was thinking it was getting out of hand and that's my fault to a great degree.

On the other hand:

SEOMike

Jeeze. What a crock. Haha, oh well. Guess there's no way of changing things unless we form a union... So, come on, someone smarter than I, help us unite!

But see, once you start talking about wages and what's fair, it is a fundamentally political topic. Let's just take a wild guess and say that digitalv does not run a union shop and he will disagree heartily with your politics. And your boss probably would too.

woop01




msg:339473
 8:44 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

is this because the "compassionate conservative" changed it, or was it like this before too? It sucks. Especially when refusing to work overtime might cost your job...

It applies to almost any white collar job (aka salary based) out there.

SEOMike




msg:339474
 8:46 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Haha, yeah, my little mention of Unions was meant as a joke. Sorry.

Haha, it would be a MUCH different world! Can you imagine if IT guys went on strikes?! HA! The would would come to a screaching halt.

Hope I was able to slap the lid back on the can of worms.

SEOMike




msg:339475
 8:49 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It applies to almost any white collar job (aka salary based) out there.

Is there a reason for this? Are white collar guys just expected to work the extra hours? Was this done in hopes that the higher-ups would recognize the effort and reward accordingly?

Don't say "it's because so and so was in office and catered to the such and such". I'd like a real analysis.

[edited by: SEOMike at 8:50 pm (utc) on May 27, 2004]

photon




msg:339476
 8:49 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just a slightly different perspective: My boss once said "Most people aren't getting paid what they're worth--and about half of them should be glad of it."

bcolflesh




msg:339477
 8:52 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

[epinet.org...]

SEOMike




msg:339478
 8:55 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Most people aren't getting paid what they're worth--and about half of them should be glad of it."

Ahh... the law of averages. Put one hand in dry ice, the other on a stove burner... On the average you are comfortable... right?

woop01




msg:339479
 9:05 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's the difference between an hourly job and a salary/commission based job. The vast majority of white collar jobs are salary or commission based. Overtime sounds nice but do you really want to punch a time card each day and do the kinds of jobs that are typically paid on an hourly scale?

Iíll take 60 hours of my old engineering job vs 40 hours of the crap I did to get through college any day of the week. I was in the same boat as you regarding pay and went out on my own the second my work-at-home salary was larger than my normal salary.

I learned why it ended up like that in college one time in a civil engineering class but I forgot. He basically explained it as rule of thumb type of thing; hourly = non-exempt, salary = exempt. However, as with any rule of thumb that doesnít apply to all situations.

ergophobe




msg:339480
 9:10 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)


my little mention of Unions was meant as a joke.

The unionization of temp workers was a big issue in Silicon Valley not so long ago. It seems to have lost some steam, but many of the big unions see service workers and IT workers, traditionally non-union fields, as the only place for union growth as manufacturing jobs disappear and de-unionize.


Are white collar guys just expected to work the extra hours?

In practice, yes. In theory, they are expected to

1. get paid the same for however many hours they work, whether it be many or few.

2. hold jobs that don't necessarily lend themselves to punchcards. I don't think my dad could have even guessed how many hours he worked in a week. He had dinners, events, hockey games and so on that were basically a required part of the job.

[edited by: ergophobe at 9:19 pm (utc) on May 27, 2004]

digitalv




msg:339481
 9:18 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

But see, once you start talking about wages and what's fair, it is a fundamentally political topic. Let's just take a wild guess and say that digitalv does not run a union shop and he will disagree heartily with your politics. And your boss probably would too.

I disagree with most people's politics these days :P For the record I don't pay people overtime because I've never asked anyone to WORK overtime. Come into the office, do what needs to be done during business hours, and go home. If you don't get to something today, it can wait until tomorrow.

The funny thing is that people look at me like I have 5 heads when I say stuff like that. "What? You're not 24 hours? What if your website goes down?" ... Well, if my website goes down then someone will fix it in the morning when they come in.

Business and work is what we do so we can afford to enjoy the rest of the time. When it BECOMES the rest of the time, you have to stop and realize that you've got it all wrong. If someone calls 5 minutes after the office is closed, they get a call back tomorrow. I don't believe in overtime or putting employees "on call" - business isn't that important, life is.

Anyway ... SEOMike, it sounds like money is really only ONE of the problems you have with your present employer. To be honest with you, I don't think a raise would change the way you feel about working there. If you've got an option to go with another company, take it. Money is not the most important thing, COMFORT is. Most smart people would take a lower-paying job that they liked than a high-paying one they hated. Right now you have a low paying job you hate, so that's two reasons to walk :P

stevenmusumeche




msg:339482
 9:36 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

digitalv seems like a great boss. Are you hiring? :-P

HughMungus




msg:339483
 9:38 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

computer system analyst, programmer, software engineer, or similarly skilled worker in the computer software field

I don't think this applies to SEO.

HughMungus




msg:339484
 9:41 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

It applies to almost any white collar job (aka salary based) out there.

Incorrect. Being paid a salary as opposed to an hourly wage does not exempt your employer from being LEGALLY required to pay overtime wages. What's funny is that a lot of people think that if they're not hourly, that they're exempt.

The other fun scam that businesses like to pull is to make people contract employees when they are, by the legal definition, not contract employees.

isitreal




msg:339485
 10:16 pm on May 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

The EPI link above was educational, and might be interesting to anyone involved in any field that can be considered even remotely professional, such as webmasters.

This is probably not the place to discuss the politics that make this type of policy change happen, especially since they would have to include in the analysis elements that SEOMike wants excluded, and it is his thread afterall.

I do not believe that hughMungus is right to believe that professionals have the right to overtime, although I can't remember the exact points that right was whittled away, all I remember is that the last time I had a salaried position, I was very up on labor law, and I did not have any overtime, and it was fully legal, that's the whole point of having your employees salaried in the first place.

Digitalv does seem like a great boss, he's got the right attitude for sure, that comes through in most of his posts.

danieljean




msg:339486
 12:07 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

digitalv- The more I read your posts, the more I think you are a great boss.

Ergophobe- this goes back a few pages, but I talked about a cap seeming reasonnable. A CAP would imply that in no circumstance would the CEO take home more than a certain multiple of the lowest paid employee. That most emphatically does not mean that your salary is pegged to the CEOs if things don't go well.

Anyhow, as digitalv pointed out, salary is only one of the issues here. The more SEOMike reveals, the more it seems clear to me that you need to get out!

woop01




msg:339487
 12:18 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

HughMungus, I know, it's a general rule of thumb. Salary jobs tend to be exempt and hourly jobs tend to be non-exempt. Just like every other rule of thumb there are exceptions.

SEOMike




msg:339488
 3:03 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

digitalv- The more I read your posts, the more I think you are a great boss.

Even I'm starting to agree. :)

So, digitalv... if you didn't offer benefits, wanted lots of overtime, and a person to do way more than their job description, how would YOU like an employee to approach you about fair treatment? If you didn't have the option of spreading the knowledge around the company so one person didn't carry all he weight... would you pay someone a decent wage to keep them, or let them walk?

digitalv




msg:339489
 5:11 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

So, digitalv... if you didn't offer benefits, wanted lots of overtime, and a person to do way more than their job description, how would YOU like an employee to approach you about fair treatment? If you didn't have the option of spreading the knowledge around the company so one person didn't carry all he weight... would you pay someone a decent wage to keep them, or let them walk?

Only an idiot would run their company that way, I have no idea how to answer that question :P It sounds to me like your problem is your employer, not your paycheck ... and that deep down or maybe subconsciously you only want more money because you have to constantly put up with his B.S. and/or stupidity. This is just a hunch, but I have a feeling you would be happy working for the SAME salary somewhere else where you weren't overworked, under-appreciated, and had some damn benefits :)

If your salary was twice what is now would you still be miserable working there? The worst thing to deprive yourself and family of is TIME, not money. The people who have figured that out are much happier than those who haven't, regardless of their income.

Shane




msg:339490
 5:37 am on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

To be honest with you, I don't think a raise would change the way you feel about working there. If you've got an option to go with another company, take it. Money is not the most important thing, COMFORT is. Most smart people would take a lower-paying job that they liked than a high-paying one they hated. Right now you have a low paying job you hate, so that's two reasons to walk :P

DigitalV just hit the nail on the head. You do not like the environment so you are miserable. You can stand misery if you are well paid and maybe if you are well respected. Opps, you aren't well respected ..... well not well paid either, ..... seems like time to jump ship.

A most entertaining thread .....

..... Shane

LauraB




msg:339491
 4:28 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

[quote]We are currently shopping to outsource our SEO because I suck.[quote]

Thanks, that gave me a great laugh!

I too am under-paid and over worked, but, I really do believe that eventually that will change. I get fed up occaisionally and think about moving on to greener pastures but, loyalty to my employer and to our clients stops me. Yeah, I am worth more money, yes SEO is tough work that all to often goes unrecognized, but I love the creative end of it and I really don't want to go elsewhere. (most of the time)

HughMungus




msg:339492
 4:45 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

HughMungus, I know, it's a general rule of thumb. Salary jobs tend to be exempt and hourly jobs tend to be non-exempt. Just like every other rule of thumb there are exceptions.

The "rule of thumb" is wrong. Most salaried jobs are NOT exempt from overtime requirements. The reason people think the opposite is true is because many employers simply don't pay overtime to their salaried employees as they are legally required to do and people trust their employer to do the right thing and don't know any better so they just go along with it (not to mention that asking for your overtime pay will immediately get you labelled a troublemaker). This is why we have unions.

ergophobe




msg:339493
 4:52 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)


You can stand misery if you are well paid and maybe if you are well respected

I think you have to add that you can stand misery over the short term. The more self-respect and financial cushion you have, the shorter that will be. I would also argue that if you are well-respected, you would not be subjected to misery unless you subject yourself to it.

I know it's a bummer when you have a job with tasks that you like, but an environment that you dislike. I hope you find something that is good on both counts.

Tom

digitalv




msg:339494
 4:55 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

The "rule of thumb" is wrong. Most salaried jobs are NOT exempt from overtime requirements. The reason people think the opposite is true is because many employers simply don't pay overtime to their salaried employees as they are legally required to do

Not to start an argument, but you seem to have overlooked the fact that "overtime" is already FACTORED IN to the salary in more cases than not. Salary does not imply "40 hours a week" it's based on whatever the terms of hire are.

For example if I was going to hire a someone for a position that I knew would be a 60 hour a week job and I wanted to pay $10 an hour, I could structure the pay two ways:

(1) Pay $10 an hour for the first 40 hours, and $15 an hour for the remaining $20 for a total base of $700 a week, OR

(2) Pay the person a SALARY of $36,400, with no overtime, which equals $700 a week.

The second example is FREQUENTLY used. What you're saying is "true" however more often than not overtime is already part of the salary. Employers aren't "Getting away" with anything.

walkman




msg:339495
 7:22 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

"is already FACTORED IN to the salary in more cases than not."

if you say here's $40,000 a year, you work from 9-5, but then start routinely asking for extra hours it isn't fair. Factored or unfactored, people should know ahead of time

Kirby




msg:339496
 8:05 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

WOW- the best thread I've ever read on WW. Great questions Mike, and great responses from digitalv, egophobe and others.

but I'm going way beyond the scope of my job and really making a difference in my company's performance.

With all due respect, Mike, this was your biggest mistake. If your boss changed your job description without renegotiating the pay, that's one thing, but you basically went above and beyond without asking for more more at that time. You were the one that changed the job description without negotiating more money. This is a common mistake made by many employees who then hope their extra effort will be rewarded. When I see one of employees do this, I remind them that its not what Im paying them to do. It goes
a long way in curbing resentment down the road.

He was a one man shop for about half the time... maybe that's why he doesn't really know how to manage employees.

Problem #2 and an astute point. Not everyone is cut out to manage people. He could double your salary, but you could still despise your work environment. Its important to remember that job interviews should be a two street. They interview (screen you); you should screen them as well.

I would strongly suggest that you go back and reread this thread. There are some golden nuggets of advice from some very capable employers. Get into their heads and look at it from their perspective. It will serve you well as it seems you will be on the other side of the fence sooner than later if you suceed.

Two other thoughts. First, consider that your current boss may very well become a future client. You know his business and his needs. Once you are ready to leave, give him a proposal to do the work that you originally were hired to do. But first call Magnum. Then see if the other job offer could be done on a contract basis without moving. If you can secure any of these, plus enlist a friendly VC (your dad), you could be on your way this month. Second, buy digitalv and a few others here a beer at the next PubCon and pick their brains.

Best of luck.

digitalv




msg:339497
 11:56 pm on May 28, 2004 (gmt 0)

If you say here's $40,000 a year, you work from 9-5, but then start routinely asking for extra hours it isn't fair. Factored or unfactored, people should know ahead of time.

I know what you mean, and I agree with that - But I would be willing to bet many employers fail to mention it not because they're hiding something or trying to steal your time, but rather because it's so commonplace in this industry that they either don't think about it or just expect you to know.

Kinda like buying advertising. If you're an advertising agency, you get the 15% discount whenever you buy advertising for one of your clients. You don't have to remind the place you're buying from "Don't forget my 15% discount" nor do they have to remind you you're getting one. Both sides just know.

The Internet is a 24 hour business, we all recognize that. When I tell people I don't want them working overtime or from home they're kinda taken back at first because they're so used to the weird hours. The technical people usually ask "How do I access the VPN from home" on their first day, as if they're expecting to have to take work home. Kinda sad :P

HughMungus




msg:339498
 3:08 pm on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)


Not to start an argument, but you seem to have overlooked the fact that "overtime" is already FACTORED IN to the salary in more cases than not. Salary does not imply "40 hours a week" it's based on whatever the terms of hire are.

For example if I was going to hire a someone for a position that I knew would be a 60 hour a week job and I wanted to pay $10 an hour, I could structure the pay two ways:

(1) Pay $10 an hour for the first 40 hours, and $15 an hour for the remaining $20 for a total base of $700 a week, OR

(2) Pay the person a SALARY of $36,400, with no overtime, which equals $700 a week.

The second example is FREQUENTLY used. What you're saying is "true" however more often than not overtime is already part of the salary. Employers aren't "Getting away" with anything.

Unless you pay them that same amount each week regardless of the number of hours worked per week, you're not allowed to do that. Base pay is base pay. Overtime is overtime. You're not allowed to co-mingle the two.

digitalv, this is not directed at you (you and I agree on lots of other things in this thread), but, it's interesting how many employers conveniently ignore or conveniently don't understand the law. But that's understandable: it saves them a lot of money and they ARE getting away with it. In one company at which I worked, one day they suddenly re-classified a bunch of people from being exempt to being non-exempt. Nothing had changed other than they decided to be in compliance with the law.

Freedom




msg:339499
 4:03 pm on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

A salary allows bosses to force their employees to shove 10 pounds of crap into a 5 pound can.

HughMungus




msg:339500
 4:51 pm on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

A salary allows bosses to force their employees to shove 10 pounds of crap into a 5 pound can.

Yes, illegally in most cases.

ronin




msg:339501
 5:03 pm on May 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes, but a salary also gives employees security. Having worked both for wages and for a salary, I'd opt for a salary every time.

That's if I'm working for someone else. Now I'm on my own, I'm not sure what I work for. It probably equates more closely to a salary than to wages. (Except I get a payrise every month).

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