Search engine optimization (SEO) professionals earned, on average, $81,103 annually in 2018 -- up from $61,711 in 2017.
The data released Monday from BrightLocal suggests that salaries continued to rise during the past few years. Today, just 9% earn less than $30,000, down from 20% of respondents in 2017.
The biggest growth lies between those who make between $45,000 and $59,999 annually. Few SEO professionals made $150,000 annually in 2018. The median salary for search marketers is $64,000 – higher than the average for households in the U.S.
BrightLocal’s Local Search Industry Survey, an annual study that reveals what it’s like to work in local SEO, explores how business practices, pricing, services, and salaries change annually.
This year search marketing agencies are being paid an average of $1,779 per client each month, up from $1,670 in 2017. About 49% receive an average fee of less than $1,000, down from 57% in 2017. The biggest growth is between $2,000 and 3,499.
Most SEO experts require a minimum monthly retainer of between $500 and $699 for their local marketing services. Some 67% of marketing businesses charge a minimum of less than $1,000, down from 75% in 2017.
SEO marketers in 2019 charge an average hourly rate of $119 -- up from $110 in 2017.
Local marketing providers now charge slightly more per hour than a year ago, with 63% billing more than $100 an hour, compared with 57% in 2017.
The most popular hourly rate that SEOS charge is between $100 and $149, with about 34% charging this amount. More marketers now charge between $150 and $199.
On average SEO experts work 44 hours weekly, and half work more than 41 hours.
Agencies and marketing freelancers spend an average of 26 hours each week on SEO-related tasks. Not all the time is billable, but this equates to the average marketer spending two days a week on non-SEO-related tasks, according to the survey results.
And when it comes to delivering results for clients, far more SEO experts expect it to be easier. The majority, however, expect a difficult year ahead, per the survey results.