Salary survey reveals SEO entrepreneurship is best rewarded in Brighton


By Kelvin Newman

Ahead of its BrightonSEO Conference on 14th September, BrightonSEO organisers have conducted a salary survey amongst 378 professionals in the search engine optimisation (SEO) industry. The findings have revealed that for many roles outside of London including those for founders and MDs, the best salaries are to be found in Brighton – renowned for being a hub for entrepreneurial digital agency activity.

The highest salaries for three of the roles were found in London with head of department at £80k; manager £60k; and executive at £40k. However, the largest salary for a managing director/founder was found in Brighton with a salary of £200k. The highest paid trainee was found in Manchester – with the same salary as the highest paid executive in London.

The survey also found that experienced in-house and freelance consultants earned more than their equally experienced agency colleagues – their salaries not reflecting their breadth of knowledge and understanding of the industry. In fact, the survey results also showed that freelancers make more money for each year of experience they have than those working in agencies or at other companies.

Core pay benchmarks established – the core SEO Executive and SEO Management roles throughout the UK vary the least. With the exception of one management position in London earning in the region of £40k, the same roles across the country can expect to be paid around the £30k mark, whilst all executive roles are paid between £20k – £25k.

The results show that 25 per cent of trainees are paid higher than the average salary for an executive in an agency.

Therefore, and perhaps unsurprisingly, executives are least satisfied with their salaries, whilst freelancers and managing directors/founders are most satisfied ahead of those in management positions. Those who earn between £51k-£75k are more likely to be satisfied with their level of pay than those who earn more.

This survey gains a fascinating insight into salaries paid in the SEO industry which I’m sure will lead to some interesting debate prior to and during the next BrightonSEO Conference. Our industry is one of much growth and expectation over the past decade and this is only going to continue in the future. It will make for interesting reading whether, when we conduct this survey again, salary figures reflect this industry growth in the future.

I also like to think that the average salary figures found in this survey demonstrate Brighton’s credentials as being the digital epicentre in the UK, attracting the very best talent the SEO industry has to offer.

The beauty of the conference is that it doesn’t dictate to visitors, tell them how they should do things and then send them away with an armful of literature they’ll never read. It’s a debate about SEO and Search campaigns in order for companies and individuals to discover the best ways of digital marketing for them. That’s why it has become so popular and that’s why we can’t wait to welcome so many people to Brighton in September.

The next BrightonSEO conference will be held on 14th September at the Brighton Dome and will once again bring together some of the leading speakers from the search marketing industry, drawing in a crowd which will include industry professionals from around the world. For more information please visit

BrightonSEO is owned and managed by SiteVisibility.

About the author

Kelvin Newman is Managing Director of BrightonSEO and Director of Strategy at SiteVisibility. SiteVisibility is a leading Integrated Search Marketing agency which also offers Display Advertising and Affiliate Marketing from its offices in Brighton, London and Birmingham. It promotes clients from a range of sectors including travel; publishing; hotels & hospitality; financial services; gambling; business; sport & leisure and large multi-national brands and companies. SiteVisibility is behind the most popular internet marketing podcast in the English speaking world downloaded by a million people globally as well as organising Brighton SEO which is the UK’s most popular free conference for Search Marketers.

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