Rafay Saleem: My SEO Career Journey

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

Hi, Rafay Saleem is here (Twitter | Linkedin), a Pakistan-born Digital Marketer who specializes in Search Engine Optimization. I’ve been in the SEO industry since 2016 and have considerable experience in this field.

In 2019, I moved to San Diego, CA, USA, and got a job as a Senior SEO Specialist at Brilliant Packaging Suppliers. But, during COVID-19, the worse experience happened and I lost my job. Then finally, I went back to Pakistan and excelled in my journey as a Freelance SEO Consultant.

Now, aside from providing SEO Services to businesses, I also engage myself in diverse SEO testing activities to stay up to date with new trends and evolution in the SEO world.


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

I set up my Digital Marketing Agency, Zest Marketing Agency two months ago with a mission to help enterprises succeed by providing them with customized solutions. Moreover, as the Founder of the Agency, I am in charge of planning strategies, managing all the projects, and providing creative solutions to clients’ needs.

I am also in touch with two other marketing agencies and help them to cover the additional activities that enable them to make a lasting impact. 

So, it has been a very rewarding experience so far, and I look forward to seeing how far I can take it in the future.


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

After completing my graduation, I decided to pursue a career in web development. But, I ended up falling in love with digital marketing instead (crazy). I was so passionate about it that I started my own blog as a way to share my knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out as successful as I had hoped. 

With the hopes of achieving something greater, I took an SEO internship at a packaging company and ended up becoming their Senior SEO Specialist before the pandemic hit.

Making my clients happy is my ultimate goal, so I always strive to do my best for them. Because if I can’t make them happy then it’s probably not worth working with them.


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

I started my journey into the world of SEO with a combination of internet resources such as youtube videos, blog posts, and google search engine results. 

But, after some initial creepy experiments on my own blog, I decided to pursue an SEO internship with a B2B company to gain more experience in the field. It was here that I had access to experienced SEOs and mentors that I could learn from.

One big hand in my SEO learning journey is my friend Az Respes (SEO Fitness Consultant & Entrepreneur).

He provided me with all the necessary tools and resources to take my SEO knowledge even further. All of these experiences have aided me in my SEO journey and I’m grateful for them.

To keep myself updated about SEO I follow several people on LinkedIn and Twitter. Besides this Google Search Central is the best resource for all Google Algorithm Updates.

Here are resources that I love to read:

  • Backlinko
  • Ahrefs
  • Google Search Central
  • FaceBook SEO Groups
  • Daniel Foley Carter
  • Mark Williams-Cook


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

In my opinion, having the ability to work hard and deliver great results is essential for a successful SEO career.

Additionally, flexibility and work-from-home options are also important factors to consider when embarking on this journey. 

Lastly, remember: Health is wealth – after pursuing your freelance career you can reap the rewards of a healthy and less stressful life that you can’t achieve in a 9 to 5 job.


What recommendations would you give to someone who is looking to join the SEO industry and get their first full-time SEO position?

I would recommend new SEOs don’t pay for SEO courses. Because, SEO is all about practicing, running blogs, and experimenting. And if you follow these methods, you’ll surely be good at SEO one day.

Here are my two top tips for new learners:

  1. Keep learning as SEO ever changing field
  2. Run your own blogs so that you can provide the solid experience to your clients’

Follow these vets:

  • Daniel Foley Carter
  • Kyle Roof
  • Mark Williams-Cook
  • Neil Patel
  • Kristina Azarenko
  • Dean Brian