Learn how to be a successful SEO consultant and what success really means.

This episode of the SEO Podcast is a friendly conversation between me and my friend Doug Cunnington who is a very well know affiliate marketer, digital entrepreneur, YouTuber, podcast host, the author of the famous Keyword Golden Ratio and owner of Niche Site Project.

I invite you to subscribe to the SEO Podcast by #SEOSLY to keep learning SEO with me and the SEO experts I interview.

How to be a successful SEO (video)

How to be a successful SEO (audio)

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How to be a successful SEO

In the ever-evolving world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), defining and achieving success can be as diverse and dynamic as the industry itself.

Two seasoned professionals, Olga Zarr and Doug Cunnington, bring their unique perspectives and rich experiences to the table, offering valuable insights into what it means to be successful in SEO.

This article delves into their personal journeys, exploring the shifts in their definitions of success and providing actionable strategies for those aspiring to make their mark in the SEO landscape.

Join us as we uncover the secrets to thriving in SEO through the lens of these industry experts.

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What does SEO success mean?

Here are the definitions of SEO success by Olga Zarr & Doug Cunnington.

SEO Success by Olga Zarr

Olga Zarr, an SEO consultant with over 12 years of experience, defines her SEO success as a journey of constant evolution. Starting with a desire to learn SEO and make money, her definition of success transformed over the years. From achieving job titles like Senior SEO and Director of SEO to realizing the importance of freedom and independence in her work, Olga’s perspective of success in SEO is about balancing professional growth with personal freedom. Her focus now lies in maintaining a healthy work-life balance while continuing her passion for SEO.

“SEO success is a moving target – what it meant for me starting out is totally different now after over a decade in the industry.”

Olga Zarr, SEO Consultant

For Olga Zarr, the definition of success in SEO has evolved over her 12+ year career:

  • In the beginning, success was simply learning SEO and making any amount of money from it, which was life changing coming from a non-rich background
  • After actually starting to earn decent income, success became getting titles like Senior SEO or Director of SEO at an agency
  • However, Olga eventually realized freedom and control over her time was more valuable than fancy agency titles
  • Now in 2024, her definition of SEO success is being able to balance high-quality SEO client work with having a free lifestyle and location independence

SEO Success for Doug Cunnington

Doug Cunnington, with about 10 years of experience, initially viewed success as making a specific monthly income from affiliate sites. His journey through various phases of SEO, including grey hat practices and facing Google penalties, shaped his understanding of SEO success. Doug’s shift from pure SEO to focusing on personal branding and content creation marks his current definition of success, which is less about monetary gains and more about lifestyle choices and entrepreneurial freedom.

“True success is the freedom to focus on what I’m passionate about versus chasing algorithm updates.”

Doug Cunnington

Doug Cunnington’s SEO success definition has also changed over his 10 years in digital marketing:

  • Originally, he viewed making $350 per month from an affiliate site as a success
  • He quickly was able to scale up income into the thousands per month before losing it due to a Google penalty
  • For years, his measure of success was being able to replace his previous corporate job income through online work
  • Now in 2024, Doug defines SEO success by lifestyle design freedom rather than hitting a monetary number

Tips for becoming a successful SEO expert

How to be a successful SEO

1. Share knowledge generously to gain authority

  • Olga credits her current success and reputation to creating comprehensive, high-value educational SEO content and fully sharing her knowledge
  • For example, she published a full 30,000 word document publicly detailing her complete SEO audit process and methodology
  • This level of generosity builds goodwill and authority even if some content gets reused without credit
  • It has lead to key opportunities for Olga like being invited to speak at major search conferences

2. Use AI assistance – but maintain high standards

  • Both experts discussed complementary uses of AI tools like ChatGPT for content creation
  • For long form writing, prompt ChatGPT section-by-section instead full articles to maintain coherence
  • Remember to carefully edit and enhance any AI content for accuracy and SEO optimization
  • Add visuals and media to make the content more engaging and trustworthy
  • They noted AI will evolve – not replace – the SEO industry by enhancing productivity

3. Podcasting and video builds know, like and trust

  • Doug highlighted leveraging podcast, YouTube, and other media to build meaningful connection with potential customers
  • Putting yourself regularly out there allows people to get to know and like you as a trusted expert
  • This know, like, and trust boosts conversion rates when offering services later on
  • The personalized connection media enables is something no AI can replicate

4. Stay focused on creating content that truly helps searchers

  • Despite constant Google updates and algorithm shifts, Doug emphasized that creating high-quality, helpful content remains the SEO fundamental
  • Repurposing evergreen informational content into new formats shows search engines you are meeting user needs
  • SEO success requires understanding and solving searchers’ questions, not gaming the system

So while tactics evolve constantly, keeping the human connection via quality content creation central remains key for ongoing relevance and SEO success.

Follow & Subscribe to Doug Cunnington

Doug is an awesome follow. Make sure to follow him!

Also you may want to watch Olga’s interview with Doug Cunnington on his SEO story.

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Want to become a guest or provide ideas for the show?

If you want to become a guest on the show or you want to share ideas, feel free to contact me. I will be happy to hear from you. Contact me at [email protected].

Check other interviews with SEOs

Olga Zarr is an SEO consultant with 10+ years of experience. She has been doing SEO for both the biggest brands in the world and small businesses. She has done 200+ SEO audits so far. Olga has completed SEO courses and degrees at universities, such as UC Davis, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. She also completed Moz Academy! And, of course, has Google certifications. She keeps learning SEO and loves it. Olga is also a Google Product Expert specializing in areas, such as Google Search and Google Webmasters.