2023 Salary & Career guide: How much search marketers make

Search marketers earn anywhere from $60,000 to $220,000 in annual compensation (salary and bonuses), on average, according to a new Search Engine Land survey. 

Why we care. Search marketing is an attractive and satisfying career choice that can, over time, become increasingly lucrative. The keys to earning that higher compensation? Seniority, role and the size of the company or organization you work for.

By the numbers. VP and C-level positions earn the most – $220,613 in annual compensation, on average. Directors and senior directors earn $122,760; managers $87,688; and staff $60,866, all on average.

Average search marketer salaries in U.S. dollars.
Average search marketer salaries in U.S. dollars.
  • Those who hold the position of VP or higher make 3.62 times more than their staff, according to our survey. 
VPs and higher make 3.62 times staff
VPs and higher make 3.62 times staff

Salaries vary greatly within roles. Averages sometimes can be misleading. So let’s break that down a bit further to get a more nuanced view:

  • VP and C-level positions range from $50,000 to $400,000.
  • Director and senior director-level salaries range from $25,000 to $300,000.
  • Manager-level salaries range from $15,000 to $300,000.
Salaries vary greatly within roles

Why the variance? Location is one big reason (see our Methodology section below). But there are more factors, such as the size of the organization and years of experience.

Case in point. Respondents who work at the largest companies get greater compensation. Search marketers at organizations with more than 10,000 employees earned $169,988, on average.

Respondents who work at the largest companies get greater compensation.
  • 41% of the search marketers in our survey work at companies with more than 500 employees.
More than 40% of search marketers work at companies with more than 500 employees.

Compensation increases with seniority. Years of experience typically translate into higher compensation.

The first jump in salary comes around year six or seven (~$66,000 to ~$88,000), and the second salary jump comes when you reach year 10 (~$88,000 to ~$120,000), our data showed:

Compensation increases with seniority.

Graduate degrees don’t factor in compensation. Of the 276 respondents who answered this question, 66% said they did not have a graduate degree and earned $95,039, on average.

Meanwhile, 16% reported having a graduate degree in business, but their average salary was only slightly higher at $98,988, on average.

Graduate degrees not a factor in compensation
  • Context: In the U.S., 14.4% of those age 25 and older hold an advanced degree (master’s, professional or doctoral), according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Meanwhile, more than 90% of search marketers have an undergraduate degree.

More than 90% of search marketers have an undergraduate degree.

64% work at brands; 32% at agencies. Nearly two-thirds of respondents worked at brands. 

Nearly two-thirds of respondents worked at brands. 
  • Almost half (47%) of those working at brands primarily reported into marketing, while 15% reported to digital or ecommerce.

The majority (72%) of respondents said their role was digital marketing.

7 in 10 said their role was digital marketing.

Of the 11% who answered “other,” more than half had “SEO” in their title.

Methodology. We surveyed 510 marketers between Jan. 11 to 23; 413 of those provided salary information. Invitations to take the survey were amplified on and by Search Engine Land.

Nearly 67% of the 510 respondents live in North America; 20% live in Western Europe. The conclusions in this report are limited to responses from those individuals only. Others were excluded due to the limited number.

The survey had more than 20 questions related to career roles, salary, technology, job satisfaction and challenges/frustrations. Respondents were given the opportunity to reveal their age and gender. 

More to come. Over the next two days, we’ll look at the differences in salaries and careers of women and men, and also dig deeper into roles and responsibilities.

Related stories

New on Search Engine Land

About the author

Danny Goodwin

Danny Goodwin has been Managing Editor of Search Engine Land & Search Marketing Expo – SMX since 2022. He joined Search Engine Land in 2022 as Senior Editor. In addition to reporting on the latest search marketing news, he manages Search Engine Land’s SME (Subject Matter Expert) program. He also helps program U.S. SMX events.

Goodwin has been editing and writing about the latest developments and trends in search and digital marketing since 2007. He previously was Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal (2017 to 2022), managing editor of Momentology (from 2014-2016) and editor of Search Engine Watch (from 2007 to 2014). He has spoken at many major search conferences and virtual events, and has been sourced for his expertise by a wide range of publications and podcasts.

Articles You May Like

Best of SearchBot: Create a strategy to build high-quality backlinks
Ads served on retailers’ websites ‘twice as likely’ to influence U.S. shoppers
6 reasons why SEO audits seem like a waste and how to fix them
Meta advertisers claim sales are down and costs are up due to glitchy automated system
Google explains why Ad Strength is ‘so important’ as it addresses industry concerns

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *