Jordan O’Connor: My SEO Career Journey

Jordan O'Connor

Welcome to the SEO Careers interview series. This week, we’re welcoming Jordan O’Connor, who runs dual roles as a SaaS Founder & SEO Agency Operator. Based in Rochester, NY, Jordan has a unique skill-set as a developer with strong SEO background.

You can connect directly with Jordan on LinkedIn & Twitter.

If you are interested in being featured in the SEO careers interview series, please submit your name and contact details on our contact page.

Let’s jump in:

Hi! We’re so glad to feature you on Please introduce yourself to our site’s readers.

Hey! My name is Jordan O’Connor. I live in Rochester, NY. I’ve been studying and implementing SEO for about 5 years. I started out taking courses made by @viperchill (Twitter) and then used SEO to grow my SaaS business Closet Tools a few years later.


Please share with us your current SEO role and for what company you work for.

I don’t have an SEO role per-say, I’m a solo owner-operator. I run software development, customer service, marketing, and everything in between. I started Closet Tools about 4 years ago, and I used SEO as the only marketing channel to grow the company.


Can you share with us how you entered the SEO industry?

I’m a bit of an outsider in the SEO industry. One might even say I’m not at all in the SEO industry. I went to college at RIT for Electrical Engineering, and worked as an engineer at Corning Inc. for about 7 years before starting my own company and branching out on my own.

Towards the end of my 7 year engineering career I was making about $80k/year, but I wanted to earn more to buy a house for my family. They said I couldn’t work more to earn more, so I took it into my own hands and started building agencies, apps, and niche content sites on the side.

After about 2 years of double-dipping, Closet Tools was earning significantly more than my day job, so I let them know I would be setting out to work on my own business full time.


How did you start to learn SEO? What are you currently doing to keep up with the ever changing SEO industry?

I started out in SEO by taking a course made by Glen Allsopp (@viperchill on Twitter). He had a course that was called Marketing Inc. ($2500) which taught you SEO and taught you how to create a successful SEO agency. I went through it and learned so much about SEO. But, when I started my own agency I realized that doing SEO for other people wasn’t as fun as doing it for myself and my own projects. So I decided to use my programming skills and start building digital businesses on the Internet, using SEO as my marketing channel.

From there the primary source of knowledge I attribute a lot of my success to is Brian Dean from Backlinko (@backlinko on Twitter). His courses SEO that Works, and Grow Your Blog Fast were pivotal in my knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work. His quality of work is exceptional and he stands alone as one of the top SEO guides in the industry.

I currently am running an agency (I know, I’ve come full-circle) called Rank To Sell that teaches primarily SaaS founders how to use SEO to grow their business. I use my consulting role to study competition for my clients, and I learn a lot about how large companies do SEO in the process.


Can you share what factors are most important to you in an SEO career and why? When do you know it’s time for a new job? Do these same factors play a role?

Since I’m not employed as an SEO – I don’t have career advice. However, I fundamentally believe that if you genuinely provide value for others and produce helpful, accurate, and exceptional content that targets specific queries in a niche, then you will be able to succeed in SEO.

I don’t recommend outsourcing content, I don’t recommend engaging in gray or black-hat activities. Simply produce the best content for whatever you’re trying to help.