Average search marketer salary drops 20%, according to survey

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The average salary of today's search marketer stands at $75,542, a 20% decline from 2009, according to the “2011 SEMPO Salary Survey” released by the organization on June 28. The survey was conducted during the fourth quarter in 2010.

Chris Boggs, president of SEMPO and director of search and media thought leadership at digital agency Rosetta, said the drop in search marketers' average salary may be explained by the rise in search marketers with less than six years' experience. Of the survey's 1,050 respondents, more than half (57%) said they had worked in search marketing for five years or fewer. Roughly 20% of search marketers with three years or fewer experience (27% of total respondents) said they earn more than $60,000 a year.

Boggs said that the search marketing employment landscape is more open to entry-level employees than in recent years.

“In the past people didn't want to invest the time in trying to train up people because there was so much work,” he said. “Now there's still a ton of work, but we've realized that if we hire smart, eager people, typically people that are coming out of college, to train them into our methodologies and processes is a lot easier” than training an experienced search marketer who may be less adaptable.

That openness to inexperienced employees can be attributed in part to social media's growing impact on search engine optimization, said Boggs. The survey found that nearly half of respondents said they specialize in social media in addition to search marketing.

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