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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]

 

SEOMike




msg:339352
 2:32 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

PS-

I'd also like advice on how to approach my boss for fair pay.

Thanks!

SubmissoR




msg:339353
 2:40 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are no victimes only volunteers?

Use your time there to work on personal projects.

bcolflesh




msg:339354
 2:44 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd also like advice on how to approach my boss

From behind with a blunt instrument.

bakedjake




msg:339355
 2:52 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'd also like advice on how to approach my boss for fair pay.

Look, I generate x number of leads for you which result in x number of sales every month.

Your outside sales team generates 1/10 of that.

Pay me more, or I will leave, and you will lose the benefit of my services.

Anyone care to give income ranges that work for corporations?

It's all over - I know people making $28k, and I know people in the C class.

[edited by: bakedjake at 3:01 pm (utc) on May 17, 2004]

Raymond




msg:339356
 2:52 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't see anything wrong with your boss making more than all 5 of his employee combined. Even if he makes more than 10 or even a 100 employees combined, there is no obligation in how much he should be making in relation to how much he should be paying his employees.
Of course, as an employee you can always negotiate if you are in control of his clients and stuff. :)

In Asia, SEO manager ranges from 30K USD to 60K USD. Because the results of good or bad SEO is so easily identified in just a few months of employment, the turnover rate is quite high.

SEOMike




msg:339357
 2:53 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

There are no victimes only volunteers?

It's hard to volunteer to move across the country. My situation has changed since I started working for him. I've got a young wife now, and an 8 week old daughter. Makes it AWFULLY risky to go out on my own too. I'm really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Dire straights (NOT the bad) are coming... and I need advice on what to do. I love my job, but can't afford to do it for him anymore. AND I don't want to uproot my new family and move them across the country.

Anyone want a part time SEO contractor? ;)

paybacksa




msg:339358
 2:54 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Use your time there to work on personal projects.

That is immoral and illegal, I might ad.

The poster is taking the first step towards self-sufficiency : questioning the value of his role and compensation.

I consider this alot like the grieving process... it has several stages, and everyone MUST work their way through the stages before they are FREE. Good to see you enter the first stage... let's all help the poster get through!

First, you see you are doing valuable work. You are doing the technical work AND managing accounts. You are 45% on the way to being the boss. Like an elite athlete, the higher you go in the rankings the more costly the incremental improvements will get (if you are #2 in the world, advancing 1 slot to #1 will be far harder that it was to advance 60 or 70 slots when you were on the way up from the bottom).

If he earns 5 times your pay... I'd say he is underpaid. If he has to MAKE LESS in order to keep you, he will not. If you want to stay with him and make more, you need to figure out how he can PAY YOU MORE and then MAKE MORE FOR HIMSELF AS A RESULT. So in other words, your challenge is to help him make 6 times what you make.

Next step towards self-sufficiency: start looking at what you have NOT yet got.

1. How does he GET his clients? I don't mean the easy ones that land in his lap, but when he needs more business how does he go out and GET it? How would YOU get it?

2. How does he manage his employees? What does he do WRONG and how could you do it better?

3. How does he FIND his good people (like you?) What would he need to do to KEEP YOU at this stage in the game? (That one is enlightening...if he can keep YOU working for HIM, he will benefit quite abit, no?)

4. Very very minor compared to the others, but what is his network of support professionals and how accessible are they to everyone else (accountants, lawyers, copywriters, etc....) Most times they are easily accesible, but in some cases they are not and it is a strategic advantage/barrier to entry for newcomers).

Good luck and keep the eye on the prize... don't get caught up in resisting your boss -- ally with him on his quest to get rich or else move on.

SEOMike




msg:339359
 2:56 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't see anything wrong with your boss making more than all 5 of his employee combined ... there is no obligation in how much he should be making in relation to how much he should be paying...

I can respect that. The reason I think it's inappropiate in this case is that he just barely pays enough for us to make it, then jaunts off to Flordia or Vegas every month. Make us sick and unmotovated.

Magnum_PI




msg:339360
 3:13 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

A post from the other side of the tracks. I'm CEO of a corp and do our SEO because that's what I started in. Most of my employees have made MORE money than me, something I picked up from Disney startup early days. With the SERP changes we're in a boat of trouble now and in retrospect I wish I had not paid employees so well.

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

hannamyluv




msg:339361
 3:49 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

everyone MUST work their way through the stages before they are FREE

Well, that's all well and good but I can sympathize with SEOMike's plight of family. I know there are some of you out there who are doing great and have a family (meaning spouse and kids) but how many just went out on their own while in those cicumstances?

Kids add a whole new realm. Insurance for one. I'll risk not having insurance for my and my husband but for my kids... NO WAY! Kids get hurt every other week it seems and one broken arm without insurance could put you in the poorhouse.

How about stability? My step-son (who now lives with us) has already been through his mother managing to get her house foreclosed on. I would prefer not to risk that for my kids or risk putting him through that again.

And it's all well and good to say, work on it in your free time. What free time? Kids take up ALOT of time. Which brings it down to - do I work like a demon to break out of my 9-5 while ignoring my kids in their most precious years or do I suck it up with the 9-5 and enjoy my family.

I think we would all love to be there on our own, and I plan to get there someday. But some things are more important right now.

When they all go to school, that will change though. :)

SEOMike




msg:339362
 4:04 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

hannamyluv-

EXACTLY! Thank you!

I already work 55+ hours a week, I don't know where I'd find time for anything else!

And you are right about family! I don't want to work more than I do and miss any of my baby's first year.

Robino




msg:339363
 4:14 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)


Have you asked for a raise?

Easy_Coder




msg:339364
 4:39 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEOMike -

Sounds to me like you should contact Magnum_PI. He said he needs help...

Magnum_PI




msg:339365
 5:16 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hannamyluv,
Dr. Laura would appreciate your priorities.
:)

kwasher




msg:339366
 5:41 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

you need to figure out how he can PAY YOU MORE and then MAKE MORE FOR HIMSELF AS A RESULT. So in other words, your challenge is to help him make 6 times what you make.

Great stuff. So the approach might be...

"Boss, I want to help figure out how to make you 6 times more money, because I need to make more money."

That aside, lots of people start 'in their spare time' (even if they don't have any). Build a site and offer your services, advertise, etc.

And don't forget to contact Magnum! (Thanks for that, Easy_Coder, I got a good chuckle.)

[edited by: oilman at 4:07 pm (utc) on May 25, 2004]

hannamyluv




msg:339367
 5:45 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Dr. Laura would appreciate your priorities

I'm really not sure how to take that as I personally think Dr. Laura should be gagged and dragged off the air. ;)

It's hard to understand if you don't have kids, maybe. I grew up not having my dad around because he worked 60+ hours a week. Yes, I had a really nice house growing up and lots of things that the other kids didn't. But I think I really would have prefered to have my dad around instead. I don't want my kids to say the same thing.

I've got a good 50+ years left to do everything I want to. I have 5 years left util all my kids are in school and my husband will be able to work instead of staying home with them (which opens up possibilities for me). Will it kill me to wait 5 to accomplish working for myself?

KS_Katz




msg:339368
 6:04 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

"Boss, I want to help figure out how to make you 6 times more money, because I need to make more money."

Here's some ideas you could throw at your boss on making more money:

- If you only offer SEO, offer to start a PPC management service.
- Expand your SEO market (if you just do websites, expand it to press releases, e-newsletters, etc. that can be later archived on a site and be searchable/rank).
- Add SEO copywriting services.
- Expand client base and make sure you get a commission.

Other alternative is advise your boss that you've received outside offers and will only be available on a contract basis if he wishes to retain your services. (This is of course after you've lined up some freelance.)

kwasher




msg:339369
 6:28 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

More good stuff! Plus

...some freelance

Do a search on that keyword with various different phrases. There are some great sites out there. I KNOW for a fact that people are making a living answering posts on these sites and doing custom work.

SEOMike




msg:339370
 7:36 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks KS_Katz-

We currently do offer those services. I am brainstorming on how to make them more appealing to new customers.

Any further expansion ideas would be GREATLY appreciated!

Shane




msg:339371
 11:22 pm on May 17, 2004 (gmt 0)


Been there, three wonderful children and my wife who didn't want to work very much. The children have turned out great. (Mostly due to their wonderful mother.) (Who now has her MBA and teaches at a collage.)

I always felt a great deal of pressure being the main income earner. That role is not easy when your company amalgamates and out of 138,000 employees 10,000 are initially let go, ouch (no, I did make it but I quit within a year).

A couple of points:

I suggest you work on your skills. Are there courses either during the day (e.g. your time paid for as well) or at night?

Can you save some money and share the dream with your spouse so that when the time comes you will have a nest egg to start off with?

Mainly, spend lots of time with your kids. Mine are almost 18, 16 and 14. I dream of when they were 3, 5 and 7. Still like them now but truly, they are only small once.

The best point you made is that “your head is now up” and you are surveying the situation. What you might want to do is make your situation secure (low debt, good sound skills, supportive spouse, maybe PC and tools at home) so that you will jump when the right situation comes along.

You don't need to rush things. You need to position yourself to take advantage of the next great opportunity.

Good Luck,
Shane

The storm always looks worse through the window.

vkaryl




msg:339372
 1:03 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

When they all go to school, that will change though. :)

No it won't. Then you'll be "taxi-mom" and "soccer-mom/football-mom/baseball-mom/piano-mom/scouts-mom", not to mention sleepovers, field trips, and the occasional just plain family getaway....

Been there done that, and my daughter is now doing it too - with a 12 year old and a 7 year old. Plus ça change, plus ça la même chose....

Which is NOT to say that I disagree with your priorities! Not at all; in fact when my daughter turned into the wicked witch of Las Vegas in her 14th year, I quit my EXTREMELY well paying job to stay home - so she didn't get entirely out of hand as can so easily happen when one lives in one's work-life.... It wasn't easy to go back to one income, but we did it. And that did (around being the unpaid chauffeur for half the school) give me time to write.... so I credit "having to be a mom" with my current "job"....

moneymancn




msg:339373
 1:48 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

We have 8 employees all of whom earn substantially less than the owners.
We treat them fairly pay them well and do not "splash the cash" in an obvious way.
Now they know we are making good money from their efforts(and our own)but do not seem to be jealous or resentful.
Anyone can get the reward of being an employer if they are prepared to assume the risks that go with it.
I visit my home country(UK +France) on a regular basis and all i hear from the "employed" section of my friends is "how lucky I am living and working in the sun etc etc"
I tell them that they can do it too if they choose to.But they ALWAYS have excuses of why the cannot!
I won't list them all but ,mortgage,kids.girlfriends job etc etc are high on the list.
Basically they want what I have but are not prpared to give up anything or take the risk to leave the safe enviroment thet know.(even if it means suffering and complaining)
This is my experience and NOT a personal attack on the poster.

MM

Robino




msg:339374
 1:57 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)


Employees of small businesses shouldn't make less than 20% of the owner's/president's salary.

So, SEOMike, if you make 50K and the owner makes 250K, that's right at 20%. Throw in benefits/insurance and you're really not getting "screwed".

chicagohh




msg:339375
 2:27 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Makes it AWFULLY risky to go out on my own too. I'm really stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Hardly. I have been on my own since '98 with 3 kids under age 6. I took a full-time job for 1 year and quit 2 months after my 3rd child. It can be done. It all depends on how much desire you have and your financial understanding. I found no greater motivation that having 3 kids and a wife.

I know there are some of you out there who are doing great and have a family (meaning spouse and kids) but how many just went out on their own while in those cicumstances?

Been there, done that, still doing it.

willybfriendly




msg:339376
 2:48 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

<humor>Women worry about the future until they get married. Men never worry about the future until they get married</humor>

It is very much about risk tolerance. Not everyone has the risk tolerance to run their own business, regardless of the skill set they bring to the job.

My brother is a very successful small business owner with about 30 employees. I don't know how he deals with the stress. Not only must he meet his sales targets to pay his bills, but he has the responsibility of those he employs on his shoulders too (something he takes very seriously I might add). He has a wife and two kids.

I'm a poor govt. worker with some business activities on the side. My risk tolerance is much lower, and I find comfort in the steady income and good pension I am promised.

Could I make more in the private sector, or in business for myself? No doubt, many, many times more.

My point is that you need to know yourself and make choices based on that knowledge. There is no shame in being yourself.

But if you have the desire, and the drive.....

WBF

ogletree




msg:339377
 4:12 am on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Save up so you can go several months without getting paid. Start trying to find customers before you quit.

SEOMike




msg:339378
 8:18 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Robino-

So, SEOMike, if you make 50K and the owner makes 250K, that's right at 20%. Throw in benefits/insurance and you're really not getting "screwed".

That's just it. I'm NOT making 20% including "benefits". I SHOULD be. I'm barely getting paid enough to get by, and not enough to stick around much longer. I don't want to move, but have been offered $65-$80k across the country. For me, I'd rather stay here and try to figure out the freelance thing until I've built a good reputation and can go out on my own.

Ogletree-

Save up so you can go several months without getting paid. Start trying to find customers before you quit.

At my current pay that's impossible. Great thought though... if I can get things going with freelance work, I'll take that very approach.

I really appreciate all the support from everyone here. You have helped me see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Before this long dialogue I felt trapped and hopeless. Now, I'm taking matters into my own hands. Later on when I have enough freelance work to survive and tell my boss I'm leaving, he's going to flip! He's had his warning so I don't feel bad. He gave me the old "Well do what we can when we can" speech, and made no changes. Fine. Later if he wants my expertise, he'll have to contract with me.

danieljean




msg:339379
 8:46 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

SEOMike- with offers like that, you're in a good bargaining position with your boss. The problem is, if he balks, you have to be ready to walk away.

However working for a year at those salary levels puts you in a better position to go freelance, since you will meet more potential clients, and be able to save a bit more money.

Don't know what people here will think, but I would not accept anything under $50k.

SEOMike




msg:339380
 9:13 pm on May 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't know what people here will think, but I would not accept anything under $50k.

That's exactly what I told him. I said (in very professional, non confrontational speak) that he needs to find a way to pay me 50k soon, and competitive SEO wage by the end of the year or I'll have to go somewhere else.

Who knows, this freelance thing may start working before then!

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