Lindsay Halsey, Co-Founder of PathFinder SEO | The SMB Marketing Agency Show

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Welcome back to The SMB Marketing Agency Show! In our latest episode, PathFinder SEO co-founder Lindsay Halsey discusses: 

  • marketing metrics worth tracking
  • the best marketing tech tools to stay on track
  • how to retain loyal customers

and so much more!

Tune in to the full episode, or, keep reading for the episode highlights. Trust us when we say you won't want to miss this one!

About Lindsay Halsey and PathFinder SEO

PathFinder SEO is an intuitive solution for website owners, freelancers, and agencies looking to learn SEO. The agency's Guided SEO software is easy to use and process-oriented. PathFinder combines SEO tools with tested processes and expert coaching to provide individual SEO solutions.

Co-founders Lindsay Halsey and Lori Calcott met and worked together at a digital marketing agency. Their passion for entrepreneurship led them to break away and start their own agency called webSh!ne

As webSh!ne continued to grow, Lindsay and Lori discovered that some businesses couldn't afford to hire them. Those businesses wanted advice on a DIY solution.

So the agency assisted business owners, freelancers, and agencies by suggesting their own processes and tools. (Only for those businesses to come right back and admit the process was too complicated!) This journey led them to create PathFinder.

Today, PathFinder SEO is a tight-knit team of 4 with plans to hire more remote employees in the future. As working parents, the founders like to afford the flexibility they need to balance work and home life to their own employees. When asked how she describes her job to her kids, Lindsay said, “I help businesses get found on Google."

Episode highlights

Let's dive in to Lindsay's insightful conversation with our Growth Evangelist, Philip Kuehnen.

What marketing strategies are working for PathFinder SEO?

PathFinder does content marketing differently than other agencies, says Lindsay.

“And you probably think I'm crazy to say that I'm an SEO and we don't blog. Because those two things usually go hand-in-hand. But really, we do create valuable content. We just organize it in a different framework.”

Instead of organizing the content into chronological order, PathFinder creates field guides on specific elements of SEO.

“We're organizing our content really around content pillars, not chronologically, because yes, it matters that the content is fresh. But we're not a news organization."

The agency supplements this approach with paid ads on relevant topics like “DIY SEO" and “beginner's guide to SEO”.

Which metrics do you pay the closest attention to?

“We can actually track sales and track a sale back to its original source," says Lindsay. Although she acknowledges that there are multiple touchpoints, like podcasts, conferences, organic traffic, and paid ads. 

One key performance indicator that PathFinder tracks is their online SEO score submissions. People can input their URL and email address to receive their website's SEO score.

“We don't actually run this their site through some kind of automated system.” Instead, the agency takes “a personalized approach”, deploying an SEO coach to comb through the website.

The coach then scores the site against the agency's own framework, which encompasses the 4 pillars of SEO.

This approach tells clients exactly what they need to do to improve their SEO: work on content, on-site optimization, backlinks, etc.

What marketing tech tools do you use to track those metrics?

PathFinder leverages WordPress, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Data Studio to manage the website and track metrics.

“We take data out of Google Analytics and put it into the Google Data Studio to create dashboards. We have a weekly marketing dashboard, and it breaks down all of our channels — organic paid, paid social, organic, social, any other display ads that we might be running third parties. Anything we do comes into that marketing dashboard.”

The agency uses its own software to track rankings and generate reports. If that isn't proof that the product works, we don't know what is!

PathFinder SEO also uses these marketing tools:

  • Active Campaign: Automate drip email campaigns, store leads and customer records
  • ConvertFlow: Create pop-ups and embedded CTAs in blog posts
  • Podio: Power free courses for freelancers and agencies

How does your agency think about retention?

Retention comes naturally due to the agency's unique buyer journey, says Lindsay.

“When I think about freelancers and agencies who decide to sign up for Pathfinder, some of them are leaving other SEO tools like Moz or SEMrush or Ahrefs. And usually, when an agency decides on a toolset, it's a really well-vetted decision.”

Freelancers who switch to PathFinder are “committed to adding SEO to their business”. Which means they've done their homework. They've scheduled demos, researched the products, and experimented with them.

“And so when they come in, they, they want to work with us. Typically, we already know it's a good fit. And those customers have really just natural long retention, they develop a relationship with their coach.”

If you had one wish to spend solving any marketing problem, what would it be?

“I think one of the marketing problems we face that I think others can probably identify with is a budget around ad campaigns.”

Because Lindsay specializes in SEO, she spends more time than money driving results. Her business partner, Lori, manages Google Ads.

“When she runs a Google Ads campaign, a lot of times we have these ideas, and we want to test — the landing page, the conversion funnels, all that kind of stuff. But what we really then need is volume to see if something is working. ”

Lindsay acknowledges it's difficult for a self-funded start-up to compete with larger companies. Particularly in a competitive space like SEO software. These companies can spend tens of thousands of dollars testing ads at scale. Their sample sizes are larger, making it easier to draw conclusions.

Unlock the rest of the conversation in the full episode

A big thanks to Lindsay for taking the time out of her busy schedule to join us on the show! We admire the agency's individualized approach to solving problems for its clients. And we're excited to see how PathFinder grows and develops as they expand into remote work.

Subscribe to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening, reading, and subscribing! Tune into next week's episode featuring Brian Abernathy of ServiceDirect.