The SEO industry has matured since its early days in the late 1990s. There are, now, a variety SEO jobs and career paths which are available to those interested. There are no four- or two-year SEO degrees to study for in an academic environment. But, there are a variety of SEO certifications and online courses. Most SEO professionals are either self-taught or have learned on the job.
There are no clear SEO career paths. But, many internet marketing positions have SEO knowledge as part of their requirements. Here, we have limited the discussion to jobs, and careers which have SEO as a major component.
Search Engine Optimizer
A search engine optimizer is the entry level position for someone who would like to start a career in SEO. A search engine optimizer usually works as part of a larger team, either at an agency or in-house. The function of an SEO includes:
- Data analysis (through online tools)
- Manual audits
- Keyword research
- Content writing/editing
- And other miscellaneous task as assigned by an SEO manager
The salary range for an entry-level search engine optimizer is between $30,000 and $50,000 per year. There is greater variety in compensation, depending on where the job is, and the size of the company.
This particular path will result in earning higher titles as follows:
- Senior SEO Analyst
- SEO Manager
- SEO Director
- Senior SEO Director
Each of these titles comes with the need for more experience, greater responsibilties, and team management.
A technical SEO (or technical SEO manager) handles technical aspects of SEO. The primary tasks of a technical SEO include:
- Code optimization
- Server optimization
- Log file analysis
- Website speed monitoring and optimization
- Schema markup creation and management
The technical SEO position is usually found in larger companies or agencies. For smaller companies, the search engine optimizer takes on this responsibility as well.
SEO Copywriting (Content Developer)
Content is a crucial part of SEO. There is a variety of content which can help improve SEO. The person responsible for content is often referred to as an SEO copywriter. But, the responsibilities are more in line with a content developer. This means that they are in charge of identifying relevant content gaps, and developing the needed content. The content can come in many forms, including:
- Blog entries
- Data tables
- Images or image galleries
An SEO director is in charge of managing a team of SEO professionals. The team usually includes one or more SEO experts including:
- Search engine optimizer
- SEO manager
- Technical SEO (manager)
- SEO content developer
- Software engineer
- Product manager
The SEO department managed by the SEO director can include one or more of the above positions. The responsibilities of the SEO director are the management of the work of the SEO team. They are rarely involved in hands-on implementation of SEO.
SEO Product Manager
The SEO product manager is a position which combines the roles of a product manager with that of an SEO. This position may either work along side other product managers, or be standalone.
A product manager handles the development, improvement, and maintenance of a website. An SEO product manager combines the job of an SEO and product manager. Any website improvements, changes, and additions pass through an SEO lens.
As mentioned above, the range of compensation for SEO professionals varies. The salary is determined by a common factors such as:
- Location of the job (i.e. larger/competitive markets means higher salaries)
- Level of experience
- Whether there are management responsibilities
A rough range of SEO salaries across the United States would be between $30,000 and $175,000 per year. With the addition of other benefits, the range could increase by another 15-20%.