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How much is an SEO individual worth?

Contract negotiations coming up....

     
8:53 pm on Sep 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I need to re-negotiate my contract coming up at the end of the month. Do any of you know where I can find the average salary of an SEO individual? It seems most SEO's hang up their own shingle and contract themselves out, but I don't have that luxury.

(I tried to convince my boss of $95 Million, but all she did was laugh...)

Thanks everyone,
-G

9:19 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Where do you live?
Most experienced SEOs in the bay area are making $70-100k or more.
9:21 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>Most experienced SEOs in the bay area are making $70-100k or more.

ok - I'm moving!

9:29 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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An 1100 sq. ft house in a moderate neighborhood just sold for $550k and there were higher offers. It is expensive here.
9:46 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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yeah - I suppose the salaries are relatively inline with the cost of living. SEO in Seattle likely makes the same as an SEO in San Fran - relatively speaking.
9:49 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I live in the Dallas/ Ft Worth area.

Oddly enough, a lot of the salaries are similiar to those in the Bay area. The houses are around $130K for a 3 bdrm 2 bath, 2 car garage with 1800 sq ft AND

there is no state income tax.

:)

Is there a site I can go to with salary information?
-G

9:58 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I've found WetFeet [wetfeet.com] to be useful.
10:17 pm on Sept 13, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>Most experienced SEOs in the bay area are making $70-100k or more.
>ok - I'm moving!

Pick me up on the way by.

12:34 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hmmm. Wetfeet doesn't have anything close that will work as a similiar job description.

Do you have any other places to look. I am looking under "Search Engine Optimization Specialist", should I be looking under something else?

Thanks,
-G

1:34 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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can you tie me to the roof on your way west? I'm an east coast girl but for that kind of money...

anyways, it is unfortunate that the mainstream job hunt industry doesn't recognize this new profession. I still get lumped in with webmasters. It is actually very funny since I am a stats head and not even close to having a creative design inch in my body. Don't get me wrong I can code and I can run stats until Intel V comes out but I am not the well-roundned webmaster. Okay, I'm babblng... I'm sitting about twenty minutes outside Boston and make 40-somethin' a year plus benefits as entry level. They didn't know what to pay me because they never had this job title before. And that dear sirs, is the catch. NOBODY OUTSIDE SEO KNOWS WHAT WE ARE WORTH.

6:06 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Get it while you can. It won't be long before THIS market on the web, like all others before it, SATURATES.

I suspect the biggest money to be made are those that choose to go "profess" it a some university. The demand form that job can't be far away either, I suppose.

A degree in computer science continues to get more and more general as fields of study get more and more specialized. I heard the local college here is offering several classes in "E-Commerce."

I can see my daughter bringing home a perspective beau about ten years from now...."Dad, I'd like you to meet John. John is working on his Masters in "Chat Features."

"Of course that's just my opinion. I could be wrong"

6:30 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Oil,

I can't find any stats supporting what you say, even though I don't doubt it at all. Can you point me to where I can find that information?

The salaries in Dallas are very similiar to those in SF, oddly enough. I would like to have some hard numbers to point people at if I need to.
Thanks,

-G

9:38 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I was researching the same thing for about a month and couldn't come up with much either. Any search I did on SEO brought little info up.

You're right ritualcoffee, no one knows what we're worth or what they should pay us. HR couldn't figure out what to do with my raise without salary figures to compare to. Sigh.

Edited by: WebRookie

9:41 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Grnidone - do you mean me? I do not have any printed breakdown of seo pay. I doubt if anyone does. I could just tell you what is going on in my *small* circle of local contacts.

Scott, you sound so pessimistic. I don't think this type of work will be the same in five years - but something will be in its place. Full on se optimization is not child's play. It takes a lot of skill, time, and dedication to be good at this game. I'm working about 70 hours a week right now. You also need a broad skill base, and to be able to switch gears in a hurry when the industry changes.

9:46 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>I can't find any stats supporting what you say

I was mostly just thinking out loud. I don't have any facts to back that up. Just adding more noise to the discussion ;)

9:51 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Little:

Sorry about that. Yes, I meant you. I'm getting old.

I think what I am going to do is look at the "webmaster" median salary (for which I have the skills) and then say "AND, since I have a speciality skill, I think I should get $X more."

*shrug*

>NOBODY OUTSIDE SEO KNOWS WHAT WE ARE WORTH.

Amen, sister.

-G

9:55 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>You also need a broad skill base...<<

That may be the key -- make a list of key skills and it's easier to find numbers for the individual areas. The list would support an argument for a requested salary.

Like ritualcoffee, I'm just outside Boston. All computer based skills are in demand here. But the pay swing can be huge, especially for an independent contractor like me.

Aside:
Recent demanding phone call: "Ted,we dropped to the second page on AOL. Get them to put us back!"

9:56 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Additional thought: Has anyone ever noticed that the more you get paid, the less stupid interference you get?
10:04 pm on Sept 14, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>Has anyone ever noticed that the more you get paid, the less stupid interference you get?
A derivative of 'perceived value'
1:57 am on Sept 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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well, I get paid like any other web content developer but they replaced the design aspect of my job description with SEO. Fortunately, software companies tend to pay according to skills and not just the set salary for a title. As I add Javascript, Java, UNIX experience to my list I get raises accordingly (like any others in the online business). The part that is hard for paying in-house SEO people is that our set skills change depending on the next new gimmic the SEs come up with so it is hard for HR to put a price on "Hey, a year ago I made the best doorway pages this side of Mason-Dixon" or more recently "My descriptions ROCK!" heck - HR wouldn't understand if I said "You guys need to give me $$$$$$$ cause I just discovered AVs algo!" ;)

VERY MUCH AN ASIDE:
I think it is about time HR hangs up their hat when it comes to setting salaries - they tried to tell my boss that she couldn't offer a kid that was just finishing college who had three years JAVA experience more than 40K!!!!! Now that is insane.

12:19 pm on Sept 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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I think the time is close for the tail to wag the dog. I do not agree that SEO is something that just any old hooha will be able to do, I do not think there will be a gang of those with this skill set, and the time is close, very close, for those who can accomplish this to turn around to clients, employers, whoever and name their own price.

Base it on anything. Is the client high maintenance? Price out with that in mind. Is the company otherwise desperate? Price with that. If you can DO it and you get them to go with the program -- yours -- name the price it will take for YOU to spend your time on THEM.

Pie in the sky? I don't think so. I would like to see this community stand up straighter and get what they deserve. Ask for what you want and don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

As far as I'm concerned, SEO is the next is the next big thang. It is just around the corner . . .

1:04 pm on Sept 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>Scott, you sound so pessimistic.

Actually, my wife calls me 'surly.' Surly, as "Simpsons" fans may remember, was one of the dwarfs at "Duff Gardens."

I just prefer to expect the worst. I'm rarely disappointed and frequently pleasantly surprised.

1:30 pm on Sept 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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grnidone:

Why not GET an offer from a big time SEO to backup your number.
Just a thought.
:)

3:52 pm on Sept 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Mike, that's a good idea contacting a SEO company. I thought about contacting recruiters also.

"I think it is about time HR hangs up their hat when it comes to setting salaries..."

Ritualcoffee, I hear ya. I laughed reading your post, so true. Yeah, anything I passed along was a salary range which was not specific enough to use. Bottom line is I know I'm underpaid, but working for a company is great and there are other perks.

9:02 pm on Sept 16, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>"You guys need to give me $$$$$$$ cause I just discovered AVs algo!"

AV needs to give you money because you discovered their algo..., but while they're figuring out how many zeroes that is, let me send you a sizable check...LOL

1:28 am on Sept 17, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>I thought about contacting recruiters also.

I know a guy who was a recruiter for KPMG
and built their ISO 9000 Practice from ground ZERO.

Basically, it was whatever it took to BUY the guy/gal.

[seems that SEO is something like that right now]

BTW - Some of us were contacted last month by a firm in Cyprus
who claimed to pay a Canadian firm $80K per month for placement.

AND a group of SEOs has a contract stalled BECAUSE the firm is
in the middle of reworking their $22 Million ad budget with Yahoo!

DO NOT undersell yourself. Most SEOs do just that.

imho

6:27 am on Sept 17, 2000 (gmt 0)

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>>...a group of SEOs has a contract stalled BECAUSE the firm is in the middle of reworking their $22 Million ad budget with Yahoo!<<

That's the place where the SEO money needs to come from, not the IT budget. Consistent good rankings can often do more for the bottom line than the latest razzle-dazzle piece of "creative" from marketing. And it's much more direct to track.

6:41 am on Sept 17, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Hmm,

Not being nasty, but the value of a SEO may actually decline in future rather than increase.. Rather than being on the verge of being well paid, it has already reached its peak.

Why?

You've got a budget to promote a site. What do you put your money in? It may be better to pay for clicks, pay for banner ads or better placement (google model for ex) on search engines and pay for review on Yahoo and Inktomi and Looksmart and all the others than pay for a "traditional" SEO. The former may well be a MUCH cheaper and maybe evem more effective way of getting the expeosure what you want.

Using the term SEO may be a bad move. Every month it has got harder and harder to optimise sites to give them good exposure on the SE's. SE's know SEO's are well paid, and thought,- well why can't we get some of that loot - after all its OUR SE. Fair enuff... so they charge for submission, and they create complex algos that change at will, and are difficult to optimize, and now you can pay to get top placement even on Google.

If i was trying to make a lot of mony in this game, I would immediately stop calling myself a SEO.

I would broaden my skills to become a specialist in On-line exposure. (OLE)! or something like that. Someone who can get companies want they want, in a world where a narrow defination of SEO will get us nowhere fast.

Not meaning to spoil the party above, but think the optimism of optimization may be a bit misplaced (:-)

4:08 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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Mike:

>Why not GET an offer from a big time SEO to backup your number.

Yeah, I thought about that, but I haven't found one in the Dallas area to contact. I guess I could contact SEO's in the Bay Area to see what I am worth, maybe even put a resume out with a list of skill sets. I have already done my time in California, so I am not eager to even talk to those recruiters.

It is true that SEO money comes out of the marketing budget, at least where I work, I am considered part of Marketing. *shudder*

>Not being nasty, but the value of a SEO may actually decline in future rather than increase.. Rather than being on the verge
>of being well paid, it has already reached its peak.

Chiyo: Yes, I can see your point, and I hope you are wrong. :) I learned HTML in 1993 on Mosiac and didn't think the WWW would go anywhere because computers were still very expensive, and I didn't think people would embrace it. Oh yes. I have been kicking myself ever since. I try to think 'positive'.

I think I am going to try a combination of these ideas to get a starting number.

-G

4:47 pm on Sept 18, 2000 (gmt 0)

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my sentiments entirely gridiron.

like the web itself, things change very fast. new economy profs. must continually reincent tier role.

The skills learned in SEO are all tranesferable and are not lost - SEO will always be a crucial part of gaining Web exposure. We change any way... Im sure 2 years ago SEO's were working 90% of their time on kewyrods... now any smart SEO has reduced that focus and is also focusing on themes and external links... Its not a big step to advising on how what ad channels are best for the clients market, and basically doing their advertising planning as well....

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