There’s a fine balance between optimizing your services for profits and providing satisfactory value for the money you charge your customers.
Let me frame that for you: A high-touch, white glove services business is people + time intensive.
If you own a boutique agency, you’re aware of the time and money you invest on all of processes around building a website.
It’s hard to prove value for, too.
And if you’re launching something like a done-for-you service, chances are there’s less customer interaction + hand holding, but at a price point that reflects the value.
You’re doing something the customers perceives as valuable for the money they’ve agreed to pay you, and your internal processes are efficient enough that you are profitable to repeat this type of work.
Lindsay Halsey, co-founder of Pathfinder SEO is taking this to the next level, with a guided approach. You get a valuable product, a valuable service, and then you sprinkle some controlled face-to-face time on top.
A guided productized service.
I’m absolutely fascinated by this and I think it’s the natural step to increase value in a world now saturated by productized services on one side, and Software as a Service on the other. Marry both worlds, and you get an extremely happy customer.
I hope you enjoy today’s episode, if you do, please share it with others!
Lindsay Halsey PathFinder SEO
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[00:01:49] There’s a fine balance between optimizing your services for profits and providing satisfactory value for the money you charge your customers. Let me frame that for you for a second. High touch white glove service business is [00:02:00] people in time intensive. Anyone that has run a small boutique agency knows that the time and money you invest on all processes around building a website is hard to prove value for. And if you’re launching something like a done for you service.
[00:02:12]Chances are there’s less customer interaction and handholding, but at a price point that reflects that value. You’re doing something, the customer perceives as valuable for the money they’ve agreed to pay you. And your internal processes are efficient enough that you’re profitable. Every time you repeat this type of work.
[00:02:28] Lindsay Halsy co-founder of Pathfinder. SEO is taking this to the next level with a guided approach. You get a valuable product with a valuable service. And then you sprinkle some controlled face to face time on top. I guided a product I service. I’m absolutely fascinated by this. And it’s the natural step to increase value in a world now saturated by product I services on one side and software as a service on the other.
[00:02:53] Marry, both worlds and you get an extremely happy customer. You’re listening to the Matt report, a podcast for the [00:03:00] resilient digital business builder. Subscribe to the [email protected] slash subscribe and follow the podcast on apple, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts. Better yet. Please share this episode on social media. We’d love more listeners around here. Okay let’s dive into today’s episode with lindsay
[00:03:17] Matt: [00:03:17] One of the things I want to dive right into this, because Pathfinder SEO is not just. Hey, come hire you to do SEO stuff, right? It’s more than the services side. What is, what do you compliment the services side
[00:03:30] Lindsay: [00:03:30] with that Pathfinders? We consider our approach to be a guided pathway. And when you think about the SEO world if you’re a business owner and you’re looking to get found on Google, you essentially have two options.
[00:03:42] One go and hire an agency. Have them build the traffic for you and engage in SEO. Or to take a, do it yourself, approach, take courses, install, plugins and learn your way through the process of growing your own traffic. And, and so we for many years for about 10 plus years have been over on the agency [00:04:00] side, delivering SEO services.
[00:04:02] And one of the things that we heard from business owners is that sometimes they can’t afford a professional to hire. And, and they can’t outsource that piece of their marketing. Other times they can’t find an agency, they can dress. To deliver sound SEO services, and yet the courses and things that, that take them out there and give them a lot of information.
[00:04:18] A lot of insight, the software out there gives a lot of insight, but doesn’t always actually show them the process to follow. So they didn’t really know what to do. And, and so that process-based approach to SEO is really what we specialize in over at Pathfinder on this guided approach. And so we share our process that we developed over 10 years break SEO down into a series of easy to follow steps.
[00:04:41]We include coaching because who doesn’t want to jump on a call with a mentor coach friend and, and get your answers answers to your questions and get held accountable for kind of going to the gym and doing the workout of guided SEO. And then tools. So you can do your keyword research, get your monthly reporting, track your rankings all in Pathfinder.
[00:04:58]And, and so that’s really where, [00:05:00] where we’re coming from is that happy medium between hiring an agency and going DIY. But then we also kind of discovered along the way that a lot of freelancers and agencies would like to offer SEO services to their customers. And they needed sort of the same solution that the site owners did, the process and the coaching and the tools.
[00:05:17] And so we actually work with quite a few WordPress and beyond designers and developers who are actually offering really great SEO services now as sort of an add-on package to their website development.
[00:05:28]Matt: [00:05:28] I have two major questions, but let me start with this one and sort of diving into your mind as, as a product owner, as a business owner, do you feel like it’s more pressure for you to do, to do it this way? Like, I feel like if you were just an SEO. An SEO, right? That’s the thing. That’s what people, that’s what SEO is refer to themselves as just an SEO, not an SEO or not an SEO is just an SEO.
[00:05:52] If you are just an SEO providing services, you could be learning SEO because it’s always changing. You could [00:06:00] be learning SEO in the background and then doing the service work for a client. But I feel like in your business, you’re onstage a little bit more. Because now you have all these people looking at you to say you best be keeping up with all the trends and teaching me, teaching it to me the right way.
[00:06:17] Do you feel just a little bit of angst, a little bit of anxiety around that.
[00:06:21]Lindsay: [00:06:21] Definitely, of course. So anytime you go from helping one website and one website along to starting to scale and, and giving advice to others, which then they’re going out and deploying, of course you start to question, Hey, is, does this really work?
[00:06:34]And, and we all have those moments in, in in our days where we questioned that level of expertise and at the end of the day that that concern is there, but then there’s education out there, their fellow SEOs to, to rely on. And we’re actually in the business of doing SEO.
[00:06:49] So it’s still, I’m in a partner, in an SEO agency. I’m still hands on. I talked to a client this morning about keyword research, page titles and meta descriptions. What’s happening with core algorithm updates, et [00:07:00] cetera. And so we’re practicing SEO on one side and then just taking that same practice and saying, okay, now I should spin that into Pathfinder and make sure that we’re teaching that skill set so that somebody else can have that conversation with their customer.
[00:07:11]So it’s a matter of kind of staying, not getting rusty keep, keep kind of going to the gym and doing the SEO so that we know what’s happening out, out there in the industry. As we’re putting that advice out there.
[00:07:21]Matt: [00:07:21] I think this is an interesting trend in service slash product based businesses. And by that, That guided approach or, or keeping a connection. Dare I dare. I call it. And without insulting you in many others, a membership for your, for your customers I had a previous guest on Kristin Youngs.
[00:07:40] She’s a no code, low code, no code coaching apps.com. And she has the same approach with her business partner where. They no longer build apps with no code tools, but they train and educate their customers. So they can go out and deploy their own apps, but they have this, I’m going to stick with you [00:08:00] approach because the industry’s always changing.
[00:08:03] And there’s so much to building an app that they don’t want to take on all of that risk and all of that time overhead they’re like, Hey. I’ll help you get it off the ground. I’m going to stick with you. Have you noticed this as like a, obviously you have, but just your general thoughts on like where the industry is going.
[00:08:18] Will we see more of this? Not to take your key phrase, but that guided approach that handled,
[00:08:24] Lindsay: [00:08:24] I would hope so because I would certainly be a customer of other people’s sort of guided approach to different tools and email marketing is one for me. I can stumble my way through email marketing software and, and get an email out to my audience and have forms on my website and things like that.
[00:08:39] But wow. It would be sure, really, quite nice to have a monthly session where I can actually walk through what am I doing with automation? And am I evolving from just having a little form on my website to say, sign up for my newsletter to following the current best practices around automation and customization and more.
[00:08:55]And so I, I would hope that in the industry space, we’re going to see more of this kind of initial [00:09:00] heavy lift. Like we’re going to jumpstart and build a foundation together and then, oh, wait, it’s going to evolve. And so you need to kind of stay on board in our ongoing process, keep working at this.
[00:09:10] And and we’re going to come alongside you in that journey and be giving you kind of those three minute lessons that we all need to keep progressing over time as industries evolve.
[00:09:19]Matt: [00:09:19] It’s maybe it’s also a Testament to the evolution of software in applications, too. Right? As the technology gets cheaper, faster, more available tons of plugins in the WordPress space at a SEM. SCM rush, I think is the, is the tool and, and H refs, like all these tools are affordable with air quotes.
[00:09:38] I’m holding up air quotes for those just listening. Like this stuff is getting faster, cheaper, better from just the, the, the software side of it. Yeah. It might be more challenging as an SEO or an agency. To walk up to somebody who just let’s say used Ella mentor to build their website. And then you turn to them and say it’s $10,000 to build.
[00:09:56] And they said, wait a minute. I know I just built this [00:10:00] in like a handful of hours using elementary. Yeah. Versus if you walked up and then said, Hey, it’s a thousand dollars to get started. And then a few hundred bucks a month to stay connected with me. And I’ll just, it’s less overhead for you as the service provider and more value.
[00:10:14] To the end user, because they’re like, Hey, I can learn this and you’ll be there to help me copilot it.
[00:10:19] Lindsay: [00:10:19] And and one of the things that I noticed over the years of course businesses have hired me to do one time projects. They’re launching a new website, they want an SEO. And so we go in and we do a one-time project.
[00:10:30] And the experience is always the same. It goes pretty well. We establish a rapport. We get them through whatever the hurdle is that they’re facing. We stay in touch for months, six weeks after the project. Everybody’s happy. And then about two years later, I get an email and in the email either says, oh my gosh, my traffic just tanked or, Hey, I thought you did semester ago.
[00:10:49] Work for me. Why am I not getting more business? And, and, kind of, easy response as well. You didn’t hire us for that ongoing piece. Like we did SEO for you years ago, and things have [00:11:00] changed. Your businesses evolved. The search engines have evolved and now we’re behind the times.
[00:11:04]And so. That, that kind of dynamic of putting in a lot of effort first and then just maintaining is, is really what I think we’re seeing a lot in SEO, but then across across marketing, we’ve built a new website for Pathfinder about a year ago and hired an agency because I’m not a designer or developer.
[00:11:21] And now that that amazing agency purple Finch is, is doing a great job, evolving our websites so that I’m not going to have to rebuild the website in five years. Instead every, we just launched an updated homepage and, and we’re working more on how we want to structure our blog content. So we’re always kind of iterating on, on that site.
[00:11:39]And for me as a business owner and, and as an SEO, that that model really makes sense in SEO and beyond.
[00:11:45]Matt: [00:11:45] I’m gonna take a quote from our pre-interview. At least I hope this was a quote when I wrote it down correctly building software, when you know nothing about software that resonates with me because I do and have done the same thing. Like [00:12:00] I get it. I know it from, again, that 30,000 foot view, but I’m not a developer.
[00:12:04] Can you expand on that? What are you doing? Building software there as the product and what’s your whole thought on balance? So,
[00:12:12]Lindsay: [00:12:12] About four years ago, we had the idea for Pathfinder SEO. Of course at the time we didn’t have a brand name. We didn’t have the phrase guided SEO. We just had a problem that we were seeing that we wanted to solve with this kind of dynamic of sharing our process, getting coaching and building tools.
[00:12:28]And and I had young kids at home. And, and I started literally just remember sitting back as summer. Sketching things out on a piece of paper while my kids are crawling around in the backyard. And in diving into this idea of building a software we hired the best developer we knew at the time and said, Hey, I know you built our WordPress site.
[00:12:45] Do you think you could build this software? And and he said, yes. And we, we showed them these literally like hand drawn. Mock-ups not a designer. Don’t even know how to use Photoshop, and said, Hey, let’s go build this. I worked on all the like education content, basically the [00:13:00] coaching or the, or the course side.
[00:13:02]And he built the software for us. And in four months we brought this software to market not knowing what we didn’t know at the time. And we went to word camps of, of many of the different events that we attended. And and that’s where we started to test drive everything that we had built.
[00:13:17] And, and find all those areas of weakness and and unbeknownst to us, but we should have guessed it. We ended up rebuilding our software over the course of the next six months. Once we started to understand many of those things that we didn’t know. And so to be a non-technical founder, This was the WP SEO SEO hub.
[00:13:36] This was WP SEO website was all
[00:13:38] Matt: [00:13:38] blue. And you said, you mentioned everyone thought it was a plugin at the time. You were like, oh, this is a plugin.
[00:13:43] Lindsay: [00:13:43] It’s not a plugin for us at word camp and say, why did you build a, an SEO plugin? There are already great ones out there like Yost. And we’re like, oh yeah, we love Yoast.
[00:13:51] We use Yoast all the time. It’s, all of our coursework and stuff is, is tied to Yost here. And, and so we kept having these conversations over and over again and, and [00:14:00] to get to some of those aha moments we needed to meet people like Chris, lemme who, who knew everything about product and, and were able to give us those bits of feedback at the most important times so that we could we could basically evolve where we were.
[00:14:13] And and so we got confirmation that we were in the right space. Once, once we could tell our story, but it just took a really long time to, to tell that story with our marketing materials and, and then the software had its own problems, not knowing how to build software means you make mistakes along the way.
[00:14:29] And so, that was the other kind of piece to the puzzle is that we have actually built our entire software now. We work with Zeke interactive, who we love. And so we are, non-technical, co-founders my, my business partner and I Laurie, and and yet we can build and scale a software product based business by finding the, the great partners that are out there in the ecosystem to do what they do well and allow us to have the time to, to do what we do well
[00:14:54]Matt: [00:14:54] is speed and iteration on the product. The biggest challenge for you as the [00:15:00] non-technical. Co-founder in other words, you have to ship it off to the agency. They have to scope it, develop it kind of up to them to get it done, even though they probably have a commitment to you. Is that the biggest challenge for you when you want to get
[00:15:12] Lindsay: [00:15:12] something new in market?
[00:15:13] One of the biggest challenges when you don’t have, a software engineer sitting next to you in the office that you can say, wait, stop what you’re doing. I want you to work on this. That’s the risk you run, right? If you’re, if you’re outsourcing that to a a different agency is what if that’s not possible for them in, in their ecosystem.
[00:15:29] And so for us, that was a big challenge with our initial development team is that we were in a queue amongst a lot of other, customers and something could be broken today and not fixed for like two weeks. And that does not work in the software space. If it’s, if it’s something really broken.
[00:15:44] And so what we found though in our partnership with Zeke has been a totally unique experience where they have the ability and the team size that if we raise a red flag, at 8:00 AM on a Tuesday morning they have eyeballs on it at eight oh five. So that’s about the same as tapping on somebody’s shoulder.
[00:15:59] Next to [00:16:00] me in the office is, is when we escalate something, they can jump on it. And then we can kind of be marching on the longer-term projects together and just communicating about timelines.
[00:16:10]Matt: [00:16:10] Yeah, for sure. For sure. What do you think the bell, or is there a challenge in balancing is what I was going to say. Is there a challenge in balancing the S still remaining on the services side and having this guided. SEO product where the challenge is there. I think I know of some that might be there, but I’m interested to hear.
[00:16:31] Sure. So when we
[00:16:31] Lindsay: [00:16:31] started this endeavor, we were of course hoping and planning to sunset the services business and become a product people. And, and there are. That’s everyone’s right. That’s why we were doing it was move out of services in the product. After 10 years of services work, you start to feel a little bit of burnout.
[00:16:47] And the idea of getting into something flashy and new was always really appealing. But there, there are a couple of things that we learned along the way that have changed that dynamic. The biggest thing is that SEO evolves and that to stay current, [00:17:00] to give sound advice at the right time and to teach SEO to others so that they can do it themselves.
[00:17:05] We have to be hands-on and doing SEO and, and we can’t be, hands-on just in our website or in a handful of websites. We need to be working on sites across platforms, in WordPress and beyond, we need to be working on small to large projects so that we understand, SEO for a local business versus enterprise level.
[00:17:22]And so to get that hands-on experience and to stay current we, we just basically find that, yeah, we’re, we’re still running our services company to have those experiences. Even though there are challenges of, of switching hats between working on something web shine oriented, and then jumping over to Pathfinder.
[00:17:40]Matt: [00:17:40] Is there any kind of difficulty moving the, and, and I don’t want to just, I want to get into the, the wins of, of the business too, but I, I do and like exploring the difficulties with founders that we’ll share, because I think there’s a lot of great lessons in there. Difficulties in, in platform.
[00:17:57] Platforms to educate people on for [00:18:00] SEO. Obviously WordPress is the biggest, but do you ever find yourself like running out of that runway to be like, okay, I guess we should do Drupal now or web flow or something
[00:18:09] Lindsay: [00:18:09] like that. A lot of people focus on what’s the best content management system or platform for SEO.
[00:18:14]And so they feel like, Hey, you can only, optimize a site and get a lot of traffic out of a WordPress site versus Squarespace or something like that. And, and what we’ve found over the years is that, I would say like 90% of what I do for a client in terms of SEO work creating content drafting, page titles, and meta descriptions offsite, SEO, think about link building and getting more reviews on Google maps.
[00:18:38] These things are all platform agnostic. They have nothing to do with the infrastructure of how the website is built. And so they don’t even need a log into a website. You’re just doing that work on an external, in an external world. And then you come to implementation, it’s time to publish a blog post it’s time to add a page title and meta description.
[00:18:56] And that’s the 10% of the time you’re actually in in the [00:19:00] platform. And so the way we approach that is as we support with a lot of tutorials, the mainly know the most commonly used platforms, like a WordPress and a Squarespace. But anything that we’re doing, it’s only 10% of the game can usually be explained with a quick Google of, Hey, how do I add page titles and meta descriptions in bubble or in web flowy or something like that.
[00:19:21] So as long as the infrastructure behind the site has SEO wiring, I guess, would be a way to think about it. Then I can implement my suggestions in a no-code environment. And like 1% of the time a site will be built in a way where I can never get my hands on it. And, and it really has to go back to a dev team and that’s where collaboration comes into into the mix.
[00:19:44] And, and you simply collaborate with whoever built the site. To do the icing on the cake, which is getting everything kind of live that, that you’ve strategized and crafted.
[00:19:52]Matt: [00:19:52] I’m looking at the pricing page right now. Pathfinder seo.com/pricing. You have a June promotion,
[00:20:00] [00:19:59] Lindsay: [00:19:59] the 15th. So check out the site. Stay tuned for that promotion. It’ll run through the course of the summer to about August 15th. And, and really, we want to get get some new site owners on board with this guided approach to SEO and then also freelancers and agencies, because there’s so much recurring business opportunity out there to help businesses get found on Google in, in go beyond kind of offering WordPress care plans and things like that to offering recurring SEO services.
[00:20:28]So yeah, check out our, check out our site and stay tuned for that upcoming sale.
[00:20:32]Matt: [00:20:32] I’m looking at the standard price, a hundred dollars a month, $99 a month for one website comes with 45 minutes of SEO coaching 45 minutes a month. And then like, that’s. I’m gonna, I’m gonna throw my framework around it and then you correct me where I will definitely go wrong.
[00:20:48] But there’s the 45 minutes of SEO coaching on top. That’s the probably in-person I’m talking to you. I’m giving you that advice. So then what looks like the rest of the bullet points of monthly reporting? SEO checklist, monthly tasks. We have [00:21:00] 300 keywords, 300 tracking. This is all this stuff in software.
[00:21:03] How do you scale that top line there that’s a human talking to somebody else. Are you delivering video, like static videos and ship it off? Are you doing zoom calls? How do you grow that?
[00:21:15] Lindsay: [00:21:15] Yeah, that’s, that’s a concern of ours and, and kind of in our business modeling is, Hey, this is how we want it to be, because we think this is good for business, good for our customers, but how are we going to deliver on this long-term and how are we going to scale?
[00:21:26]And, and that SEO coaching component is the piece of it where it’s our time. Not just our trainings and our videos. And so all of our coaching sessions are 45 minutes long. Depending on what package you’re in, you get a certain different number for a month. Assuming that as you do SEO for more websites, you’re going to need to talk to a human more and get more coaching.
[00:21:45]And, and so, those are all one-on-one over zoom. They’re not prerecorded. And they’re scheduled, just like you schedule these days in, in a Calendly or something like that. All in our platform and in terms of scalability, the first thing that put my mind at ease when we came up with this business [00:22:00] model was that All product based businesses have support.
[00:22:03] They all have humans that interact with customers and have to put in time to maintain relationships and to troubleshoot things. In our case, our support is what I consider proactive. We spend very little time and invest very little in support behind the scenes, like emailing our customers because we have these recurring calls.
[00:22:22]And so in that sense we’re dedicating a specific amount of time to a customer. And, and that’s usually our only touch point with that customer over the course of the month, because they’re up and running and have everything else they need directly in the platform. The other thing that we find is that over time we don’t know necessarily work ourselves out of a job because there’s always more to learn and always more to do, but a site owner, let’s just say, you’re an interior designer.
[00:22:43] You come in and you hit it hard during your low season. And you go through our SEO checklist. You build that foundation, you meet with your coach each month for three months, and then you get into your high season while the reality is you have less time for SEO. You have less time to talk to us. You’re often seeing the results you want.
[00:22:59] And so [00:23:00] instead, you’re getting your monthly reports from us. You’re seeing that traffic is still growing and looking good. You’re getting monthly communications from us saying, Hey, there’s something new happening right now. We need to grab your attention so that you can invest in our this month and say, setting up Google analytics for, and here’s how, and then we might move into to talking to that customer, like once a quarter because the, the demand and the need for them, isn’t there.
[00:23:22] So. We certainly, if we do the math at the end of the year on how many coaching sessions, we would need to deliver based on our customer base and how many we actually deliver there is a gap there. And so not everybody takes us up on, on all of the minutes of coaching. They can get each.
[00:23:37]Matt: [00:23:37] Yeah, I’ve been on this. Warpath of local contractors. Who’d never call me back. Like never, they don’t do they have a website? Barely. I sent them an email. I get no response. I send them a phone. I call them no response. Like, I don’t know what I, I smoke signals to get you to come to my house and give me a quote.
[00:23:58] But there is one [00:24:00] that. Redid exterior of my house a couple of years ago and I paid top dollar for it, but they have exceptional service and they have a 15 year old warranty that comes with the workmanship. And the other day I walked out in my deck that they built me and there was a board loose and I called them up.
[00:24:19] And I said, Hey, this board right here is loose. And I paid for this thing and I have a 15 year warranty and I will not be the guy who screws it in himself. It uses some kind of X thing, which I didn’t have. And I was like, you know what? I paid for it. Let them fix it, call them up. They sent a guy out.
[00:24:36] And what I’ve noticed, that’s just a rant. What I’m really getting at here is what I’ve noticed is that the workers that work for them. Many of them had their own businesses for like a decade 20 years. And they love working at this business because they don’t have all the overhead of running a business any longer.
[00:24:59][00:25:00] Presumably they treat them really well because these guys, they love it. Like when I, I I’ve talked to a handful of them and they I’ve asked them about doing like any of my bathroom down and like, I don’t do it anymore, which I did. And to the point where they probably can’t, maybe there’s like a NDA or not an NDA, but not a non-compete whatever, they probably can’t do it, but they’re also probably like, nah, I got this great job now.
[00:25:19] Like, I don’t want to do your work. And I kind of see that this is a long way of getting to the question. I kind of see that with what you’re doing. I clicked on the SEO coaching section of your site. You have like a featured coach featured coach Eric Wardell. I assume that maybe as this scales and grows, you could attract.
[00:25:37]to come join you who don’t want the overhead of running their own practice and you can kind of get that there. I say, marketplace of sorts going for,
[00:25:46] Lindsay: [00:25:46] yeah, that’s exactly sort of what’s in, what’s in the cards is when we hire a new SEO coach, they need SEO experience. So, we, we just hired someone about six months ago who, who joined our team.
[00:25:56]And, and we’ve gone through the training process. He’s out there coaching, four or five [00:26:00] hours a day. And, and loving it. And so far what we’re hearing from him about his experience of kind of joining our team and what it looks like is, yeah, he likes the predictable the predictability of the work.
[00:26:10]He likes the team and collaborative environment kind of behind the scenes and the people he’s working with, which is good. And the biggest thing that we’re hearing is that he loves the customers. So he’s getting direct feedback when he does a coaching session from our customers on how things are going for them, and he’s hearing these big wins.
[00:26:26] So he’s like, it’s hard not to get jazzed up when you get off the phone and you talk to somebody and they just said, wow, I disclosed $3,000 a month SEO contract. It’s my biggest recurring revenue, thing I could never imagine, I could never sell this in, in, in any other business space.
[00:26:40] And so he hears these wins along the way and he gets really excited. And so we really like. That, that customer interaction. But we’re also trying to, to kind of balance that with the side that, that we all have sort of are extroverted and introverted components, obviously, to, to jump on a call and do coaching sessions kind of hour after hour during the day, you gotta be really neat to get [00:27:00] on the call.
[00:27:00] You’re on zoom. People can see you and, and wave hello. But they also need to be doing SEO. So they need to be hands-on because they’re answering people’s questions on the fly. So they need to be in Squarespace. They need to be in Shopify, in WordPress doing SEO. And so we balanced that by actually executing on the services side.
[00:27:18] When we’re delivering SEO work, our coaches are doing a little bit of both a little more coaching than doing, but definitely a couple hours a day. Essentially in the gym doing your own SEO. And, and doing it for our clients sites so that they’re nice and fresh and they’ve they have a lot of experience to, to be sharing with our customers.
[00:27:35]Matt: [00:27:35] How important is partner? There’s so there’s like partnership, I guess you could almost call that a partnership with these customers they’re paying you. They probably feel like partners and you probably feel the same way, but what about you from path from Pathfinder SEO partnerships that you find success with?
[00:27:51] Regardless, like, sometimes I feel like we have our. Or tunnel vision on it. And it’s just like, oh, who do you partner with in the WordPress world? But SEO is massive. There’s plenty of other [00:28:00] places for you to partner with who are not in the SEO world, where, where do your best partnership wins come from for a product
[00:28:06] Lindsay: [00:28:06] currently our best partnership wins are in the WordPress space.
[00:28:10]And I think it’s for a couple of reasons. One, as I mentioned, our original brand was WP SEO hubs. So we built this WordPress specific when we first came out. So our initial relationships in our business space were all in the WordPress ecosystem. And so naturally we’ve been there. We also like WordPress for SEO, the best of all the platforms.
[00:28:28]So we do work on everything and, and we don’t say, Hey, you have to move from Squarespace to WordPress, but, but we love WordPress. And, and so that ecosystem has naturally created a lot of partnerships. The other thing that we’ve noticed is that WordPress is extremely collaborative. So when you shoot somebody a quick message on Twitter and say, Hey, I want to be on your podcast.
[00:28:48]Or you’re like, Hey, do you want to do some webinars together this summer? Let’s, let’s get out there and cross promote some stuff and get our businesses working together. You get really a lot of instant reception and people are [00:29:00] really excited to partner and, and cross promote businesses.
[00:29:02] And that’s not something I’ve found personally in the business ecosystem in general, anywhere else. And, and so, I’ve, I used to work in Drupal a lot. And go to, Drupal events and things like that. And like, I didn’t stay in touch with a single person from those events. Not that they weren’t great people, but I didn’t feel that collaborative environment.
[00:29:20] And when you go to an SEO conference, let me tell you that levels up. Like one more notch, everybody’s got their tricks, their back pockets. They’re only willing to share at a conference, a certain amount of information. And they’re certainly not. They’re exchanging contact information saying like, Hey, when I’ve got more business than I can do, or, Hey, I don’t work in that, that industry space.
[00:29:40] I want to make sure I have a good partner to refer my people to. And so that for us, that has naturally meant that our best partnerships come out of WordPress because we love WordPress and in the community is I think unlike anything else,
[00:29:52]Matt: [00:29:52] you have the head, in the SEO world, I guess you have to hedge against that volatility because you don’t.
[00:29:57] Country like this Google doesn’t print [00:30:00] you the blueprint. Right. And you’re constantly, I spend all my days now in the podcasting world, especially obviously a castles.com where my day job is, and it’s like apple with podcasting. You don’t know what the heck you’re doing. Like you have zero control over it, and we’re still going through, they released a new update to podcast connect, used to be called iTunes connect.
[00:30:21] Now it’s podcast connect. They’re rolling out, paid subscriptions to the podcasters and it’s just an absolute. Joke mess. It’s terrible. And for like two weeks, people couldn’t even in upload their new podcasts into apple and you have people yelling at us going, it’s your fault. My podcast is an acceptance.
[00:30:41] No, it’s apple. And it’s the biggest company on the planet and we have no control, no connection. And it’s, they’re just. Doing whatever they’re doing. And you’ve got Google, probably feeling the same thing in the SEO space, right. You’re constantly guessing. Again, these web vitals amp, is that a sing anymore?
[00:30:59] At [00:31:00] one point I heard amp was taken over the world and now, no, I don’t hear that. Like, I don’t know what’s happening and and it’s just, I guess you’re in that moment where these are the platforms and, I guess again, go back to WordPress is why people love owning their platform. To a degree, right?
[00:31:14] Cause we have this control and this ownership, and we don’t have to guess as much to where, where it’s headed. No real question. They’re just venting about the open web and big players
[00:31:25] Lindsay: [00:31:25] in the, in the, in the website. I think our, our day jobs in different industries are probably very similar in that there’s a big entity and apple or Google, and they have so much control over the success on a day to day basis for our, for our customers.
[00:31:38] And. And, and then it changes the platform changes, something changes and you log in and you’re like, where did that button go? Oh my gosh, I can’t do this. Or that button used to work. Why doesn’t it work now? And, and so that can be really frustrating. And yet at the end of the day, when I think about SEO and then there’s noise, right?
[00:31:52] Like. Should I think about amp, should I think about core web vitals? What is Google analytics for? And do I have to sign up for it? There’s so much happening out there, all [00:32:00] this noise around you. And so what we really found at our agency over the years was that what I talked about, five, 10 years ago about SEO is still pretty true today.
[00:32:09]It is, that the search engines really value content because it’s how you share your expertise. And then they need to figure out the who behind your website. And so they look to backlinks and reviews to understand authority and trust. And so whether you’re a small business or a large business, what makes a site Excel is, is that sort of eat framework that you mentioned earlier, expertise, authority, and trust.
[00:32:28]And so what we’re always trying to teach businesses is that we’re trying to just level up continually in all three of these areas over time. And that creates a holistic SEO strategy. And so when I’m executing on monthly SEO for my customers, a lot of it is really boring to the customers. If I meet with them, we’re talking about content.
[00:32:47] Link-building and, and reviews. Right? So we’re talking about the same things. Of course, we’re still talking about technical infrastructure and making sure a site is fast and things like that. But. The big pieces of SEO. The [00:33:00] things we work on month in month out are all the same now as they were a year ago.
[00:33:04] And as they were five years ago. And so that, that steadiness doesn’t change and that’s where we need to actually focus our efforts. I think what happens in SEO is because there’s so much publicity out there. And, and a lot of fear, right? Like what if, when the page experience algorithm updates come out in mid June, my site traffic tanks, what am I going to do?
[00:33:24]And what if I show up to work and all my clients drop their rankings I have to prevent against that is, is we get worried about some of the noise, not to say that this example is noise. Cause this stuff is really important. But it’s easy to get pulled away and that to focus on, amp or to focus on something that’s shiny and new when what’s really working is, is sort of that mundane routine stuff.
[00:33:45]And so to me, it’s all about finding a balance. It’s about, keeping moving forward in parallel on the things that work. So you keep blogging, you keep, trying to get more reviews from your customers. You keep getting out there in the world, getting on a podcast, writing a guest blog [00:34:00] posts, that’s all the bread and butter.
[00:34:01]And, and then you got to, to be kind of heads up and looking around and say, okay, but I also need to be thinking about my core web vitals and page experience right now. And speed and security because that’s going to become increasingly important. And so for, for us, and, and sort of that leadership role at Pathfinder is, is we’re trying to keep people motivated on the stuff that works, that 70%, that’s kind of mundane and boring that you’ve got to keep working at while letting them know when something new comes along, that we think they need to start to address and giving them a roadmap on how to address that.
[00:34:32]And it’s that balancing act that happens. And so when I talk to clients, it’s not all about new and new and change. Every time I chat with my clients, a lot of times it’s, here’s our monthly report. Here’s what we’re seeing in the industry. Here’s what I think we should be blogging about.
[00:34:47] Here’s how I think, we should change this page on the site to, to, to do better. And, and it’s not, it’s not new. It’s just it’s just steady work.
[00:34:55]Matt: [00:34:55] If you’re sitting at your computer right now and you’re like, ah, yeah, I don’t want to do this SEO [00:35:00] stuff for my clients anymore. Or like, I don’t want to have to read every newsletter under the sun to keep up with this.
[00:35:06] I logged into Google analytics the other day and I was, I hadn’t been in there in years and I was like, what. Nope. I’m outta here. Like this, this looks like something like I’m a NASA controlling a spaceship. I don’t even know what the where’s the graphs. I was like, I’m out. I’m done. Go to Pathfinder, seo.com.
[00:35:20]On June 15th starts their summer sale. Lindsay Halsy co-founder Pathfinder SEO. Thanks for hanging out today. Where else can
[00:35:28] Lindsay: [00:35:28] folks from so on Twitter and accessible via email. [email protected] Drop me an email and happy to answer SEO questions and chat.
[00:35:38]Matt: [00:35:38] Awesome stuff. Everybody else.
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[00:35:56] Thanks for listening. And we’ll see you in the next episode.