How to Build a Long-Lasting SEO Strategy with Jeff Kivett, Founder and Principal of MediaFuel

Media Thumbnail
  • 0.5
  • 1
  • 1.25
  • 1.5
  • 1.75
  • 2
This is a podcast episode titled, How to Build a Long-Lasting SEO Strategy with Jeff Kivett, Founder and Principal of MediaFuel. The summary for this episode is: <p>SEO and digital marketing are evolving at a near-constant pace – are you keeping up? In this episode, Jeff Kivett, Founder and Principal at MediaFuel, reveals the strategies he’s seen come and go over the past 20 years, as well as those that have endured the test of time. Jeff also dives deep into the evolution of SEO and digital marketing to share incredible insights for digital marketers.&nbsp;</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Quote</strong></p><p>“I got this report and it's all this content that people search for. I go, ‘Well, this is interesting.’ It’s what we should be writing about because it’s what people are searching for. This is like all the manual stuff we had to do back in the day… The moment of truth: we have our Monday executive meeting and we pull up the report – page one, baby. Look at that! I was blown away.”</p><p>---------</p><p><strong>Key</strong> <strong>Takeaways</strong></p><ul><li>Post-pandemic workers are looking for more info on company culture; organic SEO can help by publishing content on workplace culture – key for any company’s toolkit when attracting talent.</li><li>For marketing agencies, it’s not always about marketing to everyone with a business. Instead, Jeff says to aim for customers looking to attract new talent and are in it for the long haul.</li><li>When building an SEO strategy, ask a lot of questions. Who's your ideal customer target? Who are the competitors? What are your goals?&nbsp;</li></ul><p><strong>Time</strong> <strong>Stamps</strong>:</p><p>* (:56) Meet Jeff Kivett,&nbsp; Founder &amp; Principal at MediaFuel</p><p>* (3:24) What’s better to attract candidates: organic SEO or paid media?</p><p>* (7:21) When did SEO first come on Jeff’s radar?</p><p>* (15:44) SEO strategies that withstand the test of time</p><p>* (23:26) Marketing myths busted</p><p>* (24:29)&nbsp; Advice for companies looking for a digital marketing agency</p><p>* (25:39) Marketing tools Jeff can’t live without&nbsp;</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Sponsor</strong></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump</a>. Tired of wasting time creating content that doesn’t rank? With DemandJump you know the exact content to create to increase 1st-page rankings and drive outcomes. Get started for free today at <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a>.</p><p>--------</p><p><strong>Links</strong></p><ul><li><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn</a></li><li><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Connect with Christopher on LinkedIn</a></li><li><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">MediaFuel</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">DemandJump</a></li></ul>
Advice for a company looking for a digital marketing agency
01:08 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to Page One or Bust, your ultimate guide to getting on page one of search engines. Our guest in this episode has built a digital marketing agency from the ground up and seen incredible success in the 20 years since. We're talking to Jeff Kivett, the founder and principal at MediaFuel, about the evolution of digital marketing, and asked him to reveal the SEO strategies he's seen endure the test of time. But before we get into it, here's a brief word from today's sponsor. Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Get insights, drive outcomes with DemandJump, get started creating content that ranks at demandjump. com today. And now, here are your co- hosts, Christopher Day and Ryan Brock.

Christopher: Hello. Welcome back to Page One or Bust. This is your co- host Christopher Day, and as always, joined by my co- host Ryan Brock, who is the Chief Content Officer here at DemandJump. How's it going today, Ryan?

Ryan: Yo, doing well.

Christopher: All right. Today's special guest is Jeff Kivett, founder and principal at MediaFuel. Jeff, how are you today?

Jeff: I'm doing well, sir. How about you?

Christopher: Doing great. Doing great. I didn't have breakfast yet. Sounds like you had breakfast, but I did not yet, and so that's why we're going to be upbeat and going a million miles an hour in this podcast so maybe I can get a little something to eat before midnight hits.

Jeff: Beautiful.

Christopher: All right.

Ryan: Why are you not eating? What's preventing you from eating?

Christopher: I don't have time. I had to prep for this podcast call this morning. So with that, let's kick it off, Jeff. Talk a little bit about what is MediaFuel, how'd you come to found it, and talk a little bit about your role and your vision as the founder and principal at MediaFuel.

Jeff: Sure. Well, MediaFuel, this is actually our 20th year this year in July, so... I know, how about that? I feel like an old- school guy. Chris, my partner, always introduces me as the founder, so I always feel like there should be this oil painting on the wall, the guy with his hand in his jacket, you know?

Christopher: Right, exactly.

Ryan: Napoleon.

Jeff: Exactly. And so, "This is the founder." I'm like, " You could just call me Jeff. I'm good with that."

Ryan: People ask that about me. They think... I used to own an agency too, Jeff, and they thought... This was hanging in, this picture of Ernest Hemingway was hanging in our lobby. More than one person asked if that was of me, and I was like, " Who do you think I am, that I'm putting up a giant painting in myself in the lobby?"

Jeff: Well, you know why? Your shirt matches the painting. That's why.

Ryan: I guess that's true.

Jeff: Well, we're a digital agency. We're located up in Fishers, Indiana. So generally we help companies generate demand, drive more leads to sales teams, pipelines. We also help them attract more employee talent to the organization. We help drive brand awareness. We use a whole suite of digital tools to do that. Plus this past year, we just added a new kind of service offering. We do virtual production. So I could take you Toph, and drop you on a Fox News set, and then we can broadcast that out live to a live audience and they can talk back and forth. So it's all unreal engine- related, Brainstorm Media. So-

Ryan: Wow.

Jeff:'s pretty cool technology.

Christopher: Yeah. Just a quick shout out on that. Anybody that's listening out there that's within a, let's say, a four- hour radius of Indianapolis and you want to do some really cool virtual events, you got to check out MediaFuel. I have seen it personally. We did something with ITIA. It is an amazing technology and setup. It's very impressive. So I highly recommend, check out MediaFuel if you want to do a virtual event.

Ryan: That's amazing. I know that Toph is about to ask you, Jeff. His first question is going to be about when SEO came onto your radar, and I want to talk about that. But first, I want to jump right onto something that we have not discussed on this podcast at all that I'm really interested in. You said you're helping with employer brand, it sounds like. That's part of your marketing services. Is there an organic element to that? Have SEO and attracting candidates ever aligned at your agency?

Jeff: I would say folks who are doing research on particular companies in terms of SEO, I would say a lot of it's around probably your Glassdoors and Indeeds and people looking at reviews and that type of thing. However, if you're looking at, for instance, research on a company, company culture or company culture videos or what do people say about a particular company, a lot of what we find or what we build and try to build around is any kind of page or page content around what it's like at the company, company culture, any kind of video content, events that have happened to the company, special occasions, outings, those type of things. So those type of things, especially today, we find, or even more... I mean, we've been doing this for many years, but even more so as you guys know, there's this huge fight for talent. And so everybody now I'd say is, especially, we call it post- pandemic, is really trying to figure out, hey, now that we're in this race for time, they feel like they're really behind. Whereas before, I want to say up to 2019, it's like, " Yeah, we need to attract talent. Yeah, we need to attract talent." It's like, " Well, we need to attract talent. We can't find people." People are just struggling right now, so now they're just playing catch- up. That's the challenge. So yes, the long answer short, yes.

Ryan: I ask because we talk a lot about how, to us, SEO in 2022 just means 100% alignment to customer needs and pain, and thinking about the talent as a customer, it's a fascinating thought. It's just something we haven't talked a lot about, Toph.

Christopher: Yeah, I totally agree with that. And we have a little saying around the office, " You're my customer." Whether it's me with someone in CS or CS with someone in product or sales and marketing, or... It's all 360. Everybody's everybody's customer. So being aligned in the virtual and physical world is highly critical. I love that. That's interesting. What's your client mix? Is it B2B? B2B, B2C?

Jeff: So we have a good mix of clients. I mean, we work with any companies even in the software arena. So, software as a service, manufacturers maybe trying to reach a dealer network, heating and cooling. We've been sports and entertainment, we've a pretty broad range, but mostly those who are trying to either attract the right type of clients to their business and are really frustrated by the measurement of that, frustrated by, " Hey, we're not getting the right kind of leads. Hey, we work with this other agency. They said they're sending us leads, but the leads are bogus and they're not the right kind of folks that we want to work with." We're working up at the CEO level a lot of times, or board of directors that we're reporting to. On the side of recruiting, we're working with... We're right now talking to a company getting ready to help them, we're working with a whole HR suite of HR department folks, because they're trying to attract talent to their warehouse, work in a warehouse. And their competition is Amazon and Walmart. So we were just looking at how much Amazon and Walmart are actually investing right now to attracting talent to their organization. And this organization's pretty big too, so they're prepared to make that investment. But it's an interesting time now. So when you look at lead attraction, we look at it multiple ways. It's either a client or it's, " Hey, we're trying to attract talent." And the system that we use to do that is the same across the board. And when we take our clients through, when we take them to the workshops, the discovery workshops, and do that. And then we're going through and putting together a tactical calendar once we do that. What I always say is, " You wouldn't go out and build a house without an architectural plan." And a lot of people call and they just want to get going, " Hey, can we get going tomorrow?" I'm like, " Well, okay, I got a couple shovels. You want to build a house? Let's go start digging a hole and see where it goes." Like, " We can't do that." Well-

Ryan: I want to be on social media. Can we go on social media now?

Jeff: That's right. So it's interesting times.

Christopher: I love it. That does relate right into the kickoff question of when did SEO come on your radar? And a couple things to think about as you answer this. You mentioned leads, and you've mentioned talent. And so you've been at this for 20 plus years and no doubt have seen the evolution of what we all used to think about SEO. And we had another podcast that said, SEO Search Engine optimization, that's dead. It's really search experience optimization, which I thought was an interesting distinction. But talk a little bit about your experience with SEO, when it came on your radar, the old way of doing things, and how you thought about it and how it's progressed.

Ryan: Well, I think a 20 year perspective is really interesting. I'm interested to hear what your relationship's been with it over the years.

Jeff: All right, Ryan. Well, I don't know how old you are, but I can go back even further than 20 years. So I may have been here-

Ryan: I'm trying to be fair. I ran my agency for 10 years and I thought I was really old. So I'm not saying anything about you or anyone. I'm just saying my perspective is not reliable here. Don't worry about it.

Jeff: Well, you look young, so I mean, you look like a young guy. But I can go back even further. So 20 years is, I would say is a sweet spot for sure. But going back, let's see, I got out of college in'92, Ball State University, and then my first job was my first experience with, I want to call it webpages and SEO. So I'm going way back to where I went to the owner of the company and I said, " Hey, I think we really should set up a webpage." And he was like, " What?" I said, " It's a place..." He was like, " Is that whole the thing where you go and you type and the modem calls in and it makes that noise?" And I said, " Yes, it's, we could put..." It was a shirt manufacturing business. So I said, "We could put the designs on there, we could do all this stuff." And she's like, " Well, how would people even find that? Where would they see that?"

Ryan: Alta Vista?

Jeff: Alta Vista. That's right. Netscape Navigator. Come on man, don't you get that? So I was talking to him about, " Hey, let's put..." And he was like, "I just don't think we need one of those things." I remember the conversation clearly, so reluctantly I went to his associate and I said, " Hey, boss doesn't think... I know you're a little more in tune with the new stuff." And she's like, " Let's just go ahead and build one. That's fine. You just figure out to do it." I figured out how to use it, built a page, and then I was like, " Okay, how are we going to drive people to this thing?" So the whole SEO thing was really new back then, but fast forward a couple years down the line, really starting to dig into what SEO was, and I'm using stuff that I'm going to feel like here... You guys are having a party at your house with the family and oh, here comes grandpa telling old stories again. All right, so this is what it's going to feel like. So excuse my language.

Ryan: Love it.

Jeff: Excuse my language and some of the stuff that I use. So going back, I was... Think of the mid'90s or late'90s when you were looking at other people and figuring out with the search engine, Yahoo and Google and whatever, how are these people getting at the top of the search engine? So I would go out and go in and look at the code in different cities all around the US and I would type in, first, I would type in the keywords that I wanted from my own area. So how do I want to be found in just my own area? So I would go Chicago, LA, New York, whatever it would be, and type the same keywords in. And I would almost reverse engineer how that was done. So I'd look at the code, I'd look at the page structure, and I took the best from everything basically. I had a little sheet that I worked, and then I would work up a wire frame and think of, okay, it's kind of like I went to different hamburger joints and I took a little bit from Dave's recipe and I took a little bit from Brew Burger and I'm like, " I'm going to make the ultimate burger here." You know what I mean? So that's kind of how I did it back in the day. So I took what I thought maybe... Is this maybe what Google likes, how they like it done? So then I did that, kind of built pages around that, and that's what I did. So I built pages around that, submit it. And this is working at a few companies, trying to test, do different things and before you do the submission process, put it in. And it'd be like, " Okay, cool man, this is great."

Ryan: And you say submit, sorry, you mean submit to Google for indexing purposes?

Jeff: Correct. So back in the day, you'd have to go in and fill out a form and you'd have to put your website in, and then you click the submit button and then you'd have to wait two weeks.

Ryan: So there were no crawlers at this point at all. It was just all manual?

Jeff: Not that I remember, any kind of crawlers that I'd ever seen. So yeah, there was a submission process. It was very manualized. So anyway, yeah, you would submit, and then from there you would wait and you'd kind of see where it landed, and then you'd go, " Now what do I need to do?" So I'd go do some more research, tweak, change a page structure a little bit, move this here, do that, add this content. And then I started to figure out, " Man, why can't I get moved up in a search engine in some of these? I don't understand some of these keywords." So then I started looking at some of these other pages that were ranking. I'd scroll down, I'm like, this is terrible design. What is going on here? So I go all the way to the bottom of the page and there'd be this big white box, this long. So I'm like, what's going on here? So I started dragging my mouse and all of a sudden be like, what is this? And I go in and copied the area and it was all like this keyword stuffing at the bottom, and they reverse it in white and all that stuff. And so I started doing research on that and say, well, you could be blacklisted, you shouldn't do this. You could get kicked off the internet. So I'm like, I can't do this. So I just try to go the honest way because I was too afraid to get kicked off the internet. So fast forward, getting into the 20 years ago thing. Now the things that I learned from different businesses over the years, one of the biggest things I started with and for some reason or another were builders in Indianapolis. So I started getting this builder clientele. It was very interesting. I don't know why. I was going to home shows and all this stuff, and just picking up builder clients. And it was really hot in the building process, especially at the time, early 2000s. So I started to get this niche for the SEO builder dude, and I had every major builder in Indianapolis on the front page. And so this was beating out national builders, so the national builders who were competing all over the United States, also competing here in Indianapolis. Every custom home builder was at the top of search engine. So page one, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, every builder or every builder there was mine.

Ryan: That 2010 to 2020 is... That decade was very different.

Jeff: It was that time where it seems like every time somebody tried to cheat the system, they'd come up with some new way that you couldn't... You'd be on page one day and all of a sudden you'd be like, " Man, I just dropped to page five. What happened?" And nobody understood what was going on. " How about video? We can shoot video content, put that on the page, we can put content on the page." I said, " I feel like that will help your search engine rankings." Because I feel like Google, Yahoo, MSN, all those guys really like a lot of good content. And this is in the early days. So testing that and doing that, and it really worked well. So guys, I'm going to use a story of, you've heard of the Cobbler. The Cobbler makes great shoes for everybody else, but no shoes for his own kids. So eventually as we grew as an agency and I got busy, we got busy, I kind of let the SEO go. At one point we were on page one for everything, and we were doing this for other clients and just kind of like, " Oh, well, we're on page one, we'll just let that go." And then over time it just slipped and slipped and slipped.

Ryan: What time period are you thinking about right here? When do you think that slipping started?

Jeff: Slipping started, I'd say around 20... I'm going to say 2012 to 2015 roughly, is when we started slipping.

Ryan: That was the wild west of all of these black hat tactics and stuff you're talking about, where if you weren't willing to put in just a ton of work, you were going to lose to somebody who was doing something wrong to get major wins. And then unfortunately for them, three months later, something changes and then they lose everything and get punished for whatever they did. But it was very hard at that point in time to be human and to do it. And that's why I'm grateful for, so I started Autonomy Media and we were really just a content agency at the time and throughout our existence it was writing, but then eventually it was writing for SEO, became really where we focused. That was in 2011 that I started that business. So in 2012, 2013, this time period you're talking about, our customers, our first customers were these new kid on the block SEO firms that were taking, I mean we're talking major national brands, huge accounts. And what were they doing? They were hiring dozens and dozens of 22 year olds to spam back links onto websites that they themselves were building. It was a house of cards, man. It was all fake.

Christopher: What strategy did you ultimately settle on, Jeff? So as the evolution of SEO, what strategy did you ultimately land on and how you approach building that foundation? We like to think of it as the... You mentioned foundation earlier. If you're going to go build a house, you got to draw up some plans and have a strategy and put in a foundation before you start going vertical. So what did you land on that is sustainable or what have you seen in the marketplace that works much better?

Jeff: Yeah, so I would say through the years, using those same techniques as the past, I would say... So my team back then, a lot of younger folks coming out of school, I would say, " Hey guys, this is how we did SEO in the past." I feel like some of these things are still relevant today, that maybe Google's coming back to some of these things that you would do from developing good content on a page, you have media, good title tags, appropriate structure it seems like. And again, if you're going off that gut feeling, because you don't really know unless you're using the PC software that tells you, " You should do X, Y, and Z." So the younger folks are like, " Here we go, here's grandpa coming in and talking about his old SEO days." And they were like, " SEO has changed." And this is from their little Google research that they would do. " SEO has changed. It's not the same. We need to do it this way." And I said, " Okay, well let's do it your way." So months and months went by and nothing was ever happening. So I said, " Guys, let's try a test. All right, I know it's been five years since I've done this, but I'd like to try a test." So we set up a page for a specific keyword. I said, " Let's try this title, let's try this kind of content, let's try this video in here and let's try these images. Let's label these images this way." So a lot of structure and content, media, a lot of variety on a page and then good page structure. So how a person would, I would say, like to navigate a page naturally, as a good user experience. So just again, guessing the formula, guessing what maybe Google would like. So we tried that and we submitted to the search engines, waited a few weeks. Boom. Lo and behold, wow. " Hey look, we're on page four." And before we were on page, who knows where? So-

Ryan: That's a good feeling.

Jeff: It's a great feeling. It's almost like you closed your eyes and you threw the dart at the dart board and you're like, " Hey, that's not a bad shot for not looking." So then I said, " Let's try this." So then we tweaked the page, let's move this content here, let's add another paragraph. So it was basically massaging the content on the page. So lot of manual stuff. Go out and look at, " Hey, let's go research these firms and these particular cities. Hey, I think Google likes what they said here. Let's take that idea and write it for ourselves." So again, kind of working it, changing it, working it, changing it, boom. All of a sudden a few weeks later, " Hey look, we're at the bottom of page one." They must have really liked that. So just kind of tweaking and changing the content over time. And then over a course, I'd say, of three to six months, I would say we eventually got... So we got to page one as we were messing with the content and then eventually hung there. And I'm like, " Don't touch it. Leave it alone." So until somebody else comes in. You always like to say, it feels like you're at this poker table and the guys are all playing poker, and it's like you, what move he makes, then you're trying to make your move off of what that guy makes. So if somebody comes in and knocks us down, " Well, let's go look at his page, let's look at the code and see what he did, and then let's tweak our stuff to try to knock him down." So just this big game. So kind of fast forwarding from that, several months ago I was Googling video production. I knew that we slipped and I was okay with it for the time, but I started getting a little angry because, " Hey, where are these new dudes coming from?" Going back to that whole thing, " This guy's been in business for three months. How is he on page one? We've been in business for 20 years and we got video and we got this, this huge studio. We do virtual." So then I started getting this itch again. So I went to our guy and I'm like, "I get a task. We picked up this software DemandJump." And I'm like, okay, I wonder if this like is the old software PC stuff we used back in the day. Does it do the same thing? And so I started asking questions, and I'm not in all the details of how it works, but they were telling me about it and I'm like, " Hey, I'd like to try a test with DemandJump." So the test is, " Video production. Indianapolis. Indianapolis, video production." MediaFuel is page one again. All right. Let's bring back the glory, baby. Let's do it. So I get this report and it's like all this content, what people search for. Again, I'm not in all the details, but I look at it and I go, " Well, this is interesting." What we should be writing about, what people are searching for? This is all the manual stuff we had to do back in the day. And he just spits out this report, hands it... Spits out this report that just tells me what I should be doing. I'm like, " Okay, this is great." So I don't need to go to, LA Video production, Chicago video production, New York video production, look at the code, all that stuff, go look in Google, pick all that apart, all the manual labor you had to do. And I go back and I sit down and I write the way that I generally do, kind of according to the suggestions, thinking about, " Hey, we should put this content in. We should do this. Hey, let's add this video. Hey, this is a good video sample we should use here." I give him back all my content and then he says, I don't know, within a few days, " Hey, the page is built." I'm like, okay. I said, " Well, let's see what happens baby."

Christopher: The moment of truth.

Jeff: The moment of truth. So we're page five, page six, wherever it was, and we have our every Monday meeting, executive meeting, and he pulls up the report and he goes, " Page one, baby, look at that." I'm go, " What?" And I get on there, I'm like, " No way." I'm like-

Ryan: How many days? Is this the next week?

Jeff: No, within two weeks. I'd say within two weeks we had our meeting. So it could have happened within a week. I don't know. Because I'm thinking, " All right." Again, guys, going back to old school way of thinking. Got to go to Google, submit, wait, wait for human being to look at it. And so he goes, just kind of nonchalantly goes, " Hey, we're back on page one. We're page one."

Ryan: We've seen it happen in an hour before. That's not a lie. It's insane.

Jeff: Exactly. But I was blown away. I was typing every keyword imaginable and it kept... " Media, fuel, media, fuel, media, fuel, media, fuel." I said, " This is amazing." Needless to say, that made my day. It's amazing. And I know we use the same software for our clients and they have nothing but great things to say about how much time it saves us and how people think and search. So that's kind of where we're at today. I couldn't tell you for the life of me all the secrets, the secret sauce of Google, because everybody's always tried to figure it out. But I can say using the software today has saved us a tremendous amount of time and energy and it's been amazing for us.

Ryan: This has me thinking, we should... Have we ever thought about going offline with our app and going Windows PC, only floppy disc version?

Christopher: Yes.

Ryan: Because it sounds like that's where we need to start if we really want to get some traction here.

Christopher: Jeff, I think you just nailed it there at the very end when you were talking through that. Trying to write content or develop a strategy based on a search engine is probably not the best path to success anymore with all the sophistication that has come to the market in terms of smart devices, et cetera. And so if we're able to focus on that target customer and what might they be thinking, if we can know what pain they're trying to solve or desire they're trying to fulfill and align to that, by default, you're always going to be in good standing because search engines, what's their number one mission? It's to connect. They don't care about companies. They care about all of us as people, and they want to give us as people the best experience possible. So they're going to show the content that most closely aligns with whatever our behavior is in terms of questions and searches.

Ryan: You mean the opposite of a white box filled with keywords that are invisible?

Christopher: Exactly. 180 degrees different way of thinking.

Jeff: That's right.

Christopher: That's awesome. Let's move into some quick hitters. How about some marketing myths? Any marking myths busted along the way when you started your agency that come to mind that you want to share with our audience?

Jeff: So yeah, I would say over the past 20 years, something that we've... I want to say, we thought marketing to everybody who had a business, we figured they would all come rushing to us. That's not the case. And we found out that most people, when I say most businesses don't have any money or any business paying for us to help them. I'd say most businesses were calling us, they say, " Marketing agency, they can help me." And then it's like, " Hey, I want to do this." It's kind of like the guy you meet at a gas station that's like, " Hey, I got five bucks. Can you get me to California?" And hey, there's, " That's a long way to go. We got a lot of places to stop, a lot of things to do." But yeah, so that's probably one. We're definitely not for everybody, but we're for those who are trying to attract new customers, attract talent, and who are those who want to do it for the long haul.

Christopher: What's your best piece of advice for a company that's looking for a digital marketing agency? How do they vet them? What should they be thinking about when they're looking for a digital marketing agency?

Jeff: We definitely ask a lot of questions around processes and in terms of, " What is your process in terms of from planning to execution?" That's an interesting question because when I ask people who would call us and say... I'll say vomiting all of their issues with this current agency. And we'll ask them, " What are some of the things that they're not doing?" And so, " They got going really well, but then they kind of fell off so they didn't do what they promised over time. They just got us going. All of a sudden I look up and there's a webpage. Well, we need to be found in searches, and they just build us this webpage and we feel like it's a template because this guy down the street has the same thing but different colors." So I would definitely ask a lot of questions around what's your process and then who's our ideal customer target, who are our competitors? Making sure that somebody puts together a very tactical- ized calendar, if you want to say per se, that basically says, " Here's what we're going to execute on every single week, every single month, to attract the ideal customer or talent that you're trying to hire in your organization."

Christopher: All right. Well let's hit one more. What are three tools, marketing tools or tools that you can't live without in terms of operating your agency or delivering value for your clients?

Jeff: Adobe GoLive, Aldus Freehand and Netscape Navigator.

Christopher: V 1. 0 or 2.0?

Ryan: A 56K modem.

Jeff: Yeah, dial up maybe. We use so many different tools, honestly. I've dabbled in the HubSpots and the Sharp Springs, the Keeps and looking into the DemandJumps, and our team uses so many honestly, I can't keep track of all of them, but if you were to ask me this 20 years ago, 25, 30 years ago, those are the answers I would've given you. GoLive, Freehand and Navigator, baby. Those are the ones that I'm working with.

Ryan: We've come a long way for sure.

Christopher: That's awesome. So Jeff, how do people, if they want to get engaged with MediaFuel or come to your virtual studio, how do they get in touch with yourself or MediaFuel? How can they find you?

Jeff: Yeah, they could check us out. Obviously MediaFuel. net. You should be able to Google that. Hopefully it comes up in the search engine still. MediaFuel. net. If somebody's interested in the virtual studio, we do give tours. That's probably the one thing. Obviously you can contact us through the website. We do have samples on the website. If you go to our video production area, you can actually see some of the samples of folks on the big green screen. By the way, funny story. So I Google, green screen production studios, Indianapolis, because people walk into our studio and like, " Man, that's a massive green screen." I'm like, " Yeah." So what I did was I Googled green screen studios, figured out who had the biggest one, and then made ours five feet wider and taller. So I could say that we have the biggest green screen in Indianapolis, but if anybody wants to have a-

Ryan: Outstanding.

Jeff: So somebody comes through yesterday and they go, " My gosh, that's a huge green screen." I'm like, " Well, you never know. We might have to pull an RV or something back here." I said, " We can always put in a virtual environment." So you could find us on the net, obviously, and contact us through the website and we give tours. So folks, if they're interested in, " Hey, I need to do a virtual event," or, " Hey, I'm interested to see how this whole virtual environment works." We're supposedly one of the only agencies in the Midwest that has this now. So I'm more than happy to give those tours. Just reach out to us, jeff @ mediafuel. net is my email, J- E- F- F, at

Christopher: Awesome. We had a great time today, Jeff. Amazing job. MediaFuel is an incredible digital agency and thanks for sharing all of your experiences. And then this is Christopher Day and we have Ryan Brock, my co- host with Page One or Bust. Until next time, we'll see you soon.

Ryan: Thanks, Jeff.

Jeff: Thanks guys, appreciate it.

Speaker 1: Page One or Bust is brought to you by DemandJump. Know the exact content to create to increase first page rankings and drive outcomes with DemandJump. Get started for free today at demandjump. com.


SEO and digital marketing are evolving at a near constant pace – are you keeping up? In this episode, Jeff Kivett, Founder and Principal at MediaFuel, reveals the strategies he’s seen come and go over the past 20 years, as well as those that have endured the test of time. Jeff also dives deep into the evolution of SEO and digital marketing to share incredible insights for digital marketers. 

Contact Us

Got a topic idea? Hot take? Guest pitch? We’d love to hear from you! Reach out to us at