HERTS: TOP 5 Advanced SEO Tactics For 2017 with Distinctly

We’re delighted to have Distinctly as our Associate Sponsor for the second year running at the Hertfordshire Digital Awards.

Founded in 2009, Distinctly provide search marketing services including SEO, PPC and digital PR, which increase visibility, boost rankings and deliver fantastic results for clients including Arsenal Football Club, designer furniture retailer BoConcept and the University of Hertfordshire.

Ahead of the awards on September 21 at Knebworth House, we spoke to Tom Shurville, Managing Director of Distinctly, who shared his insights into advanced SEO tactics for 2017 and beyond.

In this first episode in a series of five Tom explores Log File Analysis; what is it and why is it important?


Tom said: “On-page optimisation and link building alone are no longer enough for successful SEO. Optimise your online presence through 2017 and beyond with our essential guide to five advanced SEO tactics, what they are and why you and your business should be utilising them, starting with Log File Analysis.

Log File Analysis

What is log file analysis?

A key element of technical SEO, log file analysis is key to ensuring your site ranks well before any on-page optimisation, content marketing or link building begins.

A log entry is created each and every time a server, app, OS or device performs an action, such as a visitor browsing a page on a site. Depending on the size of your site, this could total thousands per minute. Each entry is then stored on the server, with the resulting entries collated to form a log file.

Log file analysis is the process of examining these files to interpret findings from the data, including:

  • Security issues – such as hacking or malware
  • Compliance – ensuring required security levels are met
  • Network issues – identifying any system errors
  • Development and QA – identifying any bugs or flaws in a code or design release
  • Customer experience – ensuring visitors navigate smoothly through your site, particularly in areas such as a checkout or bookings page

Why do you need log file analysis?

Log files are a useful means of interpreting and understanding crawl behaviour for your website. Analysis of your log files can help you identify any potential issues with your site such as:

  • Areas of crawl deficiency
  • Any accessibility errors identified during a crawl
  • If crawl budget is being wasted and where

Any necessary updates and improvements can then be implemented, ensuring your site receives higher rankings plus potentially increased traffic, a higher conversion rate and optimum sales.

Whilst log files only tend to be investigated as a result of an issue such as a bug, hack or system error, it is recommended you analyse your log files on a regular basis as failing to identify and correct flaws in your site can cause issues such as:

  • Search engines such as Google may reduce their crawl capacity of your site due to a high level of error codes. This may affect your site page ranks
  • Pages you do not wish to appear in your SERPs may be crawled
  • Any URL redirects may not pass on link juice, causing your page rank to drop

For more information, [email protected] or call 01923 728191.


HERTS: Two Weeks Left To Enter HDA17

Entry for the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2017 will close in two weeks.

The scheme is open to businesses from any industry and was set up in 2015 to celebrate the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools across the county.

HDA17 is free to enter and has 14 free-to-enter categories which are:

Website: School, Education or Charity
Website: Marketing & Creative
Website: B2B
Website: Tourism & Hospitality
Website: Lifestyle & Culture
Website: Sports & Entertainment
Responsive Website
Mobile App
Blog: Business
Blog: Entertainment
Use of Social Media for Business
Use of Video for Business
Online Retailer

The Headline Sponsor of HDA17 is website hosting firm Nimbus Hosting and the Associate Sponsor is Distinctly

Entry is open to businesses from every industry sector, not just design agencies.

But design agencies wishing to enter can also enter their client work, even if the client is based outside of Hertfordshire.

Robin Bailey, Chair of the HDA17 Judging Panel said: “The Digital Awards is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Hertfordshire calendar.

“It is a great opportunity for businesses, charities and schools to showcase their online work, promote their services and get recognised for their achievements.

“The event itself is a fantastic celebration of what’s great about progressive Hertfordshire businesses and an amazing networking opportunity among some of the county’s most influential organisations.”

The Hertfordshire Digital Awards is supported by Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department For International Trade and Hertfordshire Mercury.

The Presentation Evening will take place at Knebworth House on September 21, 2017.

Enter here

Entry closes at 5pm on July 21, 2017.

HERTS: Distinctly Backs HDAs For Second Year

Distinctly – one of Hertfordshire’s leading SEO and PPC agencies – has signed up as Associate Sponsor of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards for the second year running.

The company, based in Rickmansworth, will present the “Online Retailer” award at the Presentation Evening in September and take a place on the HDA17 judging panel.

Distinctly was founded in 2009 by Managing Director, Tom Shurville.

They offer a range of Internet search marketing services to clients to improve ranking results and website traffic.

Following last year’s sellout event featuring an exceptional standard of entries from businesses, charities and schools across the county, Tom was keen to get involved in the HDAs once again.

He said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with HDA17 again this year.

“The digital industry is thriving in Hertfordshire and it’s great to be part of these awards, celebrating the online achievements of businesses, charities and schools.”

Distinctly continues to thrive within the SEO and PPC landscape working with an impressive portfolio of clients including Arsenal Football Club, Vape Club, the University of Hertfordshire and international furniture retailer, BoConcept.

Their success is driven by delivering intelligently planned and executed SEO and PPC campaigns that increase search visibility and deliver fantastic results for our clients.

Distinctly – which also counts Watford Palace Theatre and the manufacturer InSinkErator among its clients – will now take a prominent position at the Awards.

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the HDAs Judging Panel, said: “We are delighted to welcome Distinctly back to the HDAs for the second year.

“I have said before and will say it again, Distinctly has proven over several years that they are a most effective, professional and progressive digital marketing agency and it’s a real bonus for us to have their support.”

Entry for HDA17 closes on July 21 and the Presentation Evening will take place at Knebworth House on September 21.

For more information about Distinctly visit https://distinctly.co or call 01923 728191. 


HERTFORDSHIRE: HDA16 Presentation Evening Report

THE online achievements of businesses, charities and schools across Hertfordshire have been celebrated at the second Hertfordshire Digital Awards.

Accolades across 15 categories including “Website”, “Blog” and “Use of Social Media for Business” were presented to deserving organisations at the University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, on September 22.

Compering the event was former BBC broadcaster Robin Bailey who presented Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes to a host of worthy winners.

Special guests included Tim Dunton, from the headline sponsor Nimbus Hosting, Tom Shurville of Associate Sponsor, Distinctly, Carole Luck from Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, Ian Webber of Lexus Hatfield and James Selby from the Department for International Trade.

The Hertfordshire Digital Awards was set up in 2015 solely to showcase online work.

Bishops Stortford College saw double after scooping Gold in the flagship “Website” category and in “Website: School, Education or Charity”.

Also walking away with two top-placed accolades were Stevenage-based design agency Tutch Media who won Gold in “Website: B2B” for their work on behalf of Oakmont Construction and in the “Website: Lifestyle & Culture” for Wildgoose.

Red Bullet landed the top Award in the “Website: Tourism & Hospitality” classification for its Visit Hertfordshire website design and Fluid Studios, from Baldock, won Gold in the “Use of Social Media for Business” area.

Online poetry and gift retailer Bespoke Verse, in Berkhamsted, made it a third double-haul by claiming Gold in the “Online Retailer” and “Website: Marketing & Creative” sections.

Leading the way in the “Blog” category was Deep Phat Digital and the plaudits went to Elstree studio Cincera in “Use of Video for Business”.

Watford retailer 1,000 Mile Sportswear by The Creative Clinic landed Gold in “Website: Sports & Entertainment”.

HDA16 was sponsored by Nimbus Hosting and Distinctly

It was also backed by the Mercury, Lexus Hatfield, Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, the Department for International Trade and Capricorn Media.

Also victorious were Harpenden and Hitchin’s Lyndhurst Financial Management in “Responsive Website”, and Holiday Tots by Advanced Web Designs, in Hertford, for “Website: Small Business”.

There was also a ‘Spirit of Hertfordshire’ award which was handed to the film and TV centre Elstree Studios, the home of Star Wars and Strictly Come Dancing, who were commended for ‘going above and beyond the call of duty for the betterment and promotion of Hertfordshire’ through their digital work.

You can see a full list of the winners from HDA16 here

HERTFORDSHIRE: 8 SEO Must-Know Trends for 2017

The day of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016 has arrived and to celebrate, we asked our Associate Sponsor, Distinctly, to share the latest wisdom on all things SEO.

You can meet Dave & the team at the HDAs tonight, if you want to find out more.

Here’s what they told us.

8 SEO Must-Know Trends for 2017

Yes, it’s that time! Time to start planning for 2017.

If you’re into digital marketing, what needs to be at the top of your agenda, next year? Below, we have compiled eight hot topics that you’ll hugely benefit from knowing inside and out in time for Christmas.


2017 marks another year for mobile! From ensuring your content marketing is mobile first (because the majority of people read while commuting, in bed, or in front of the telly), to updating older websites with new shiny responsive designs… Mobiles are going to continue to be at the forefront of digital marketers list of considerations.

Site Speed & Image Optimisation

Following on from the above, one of the best things website owners can do to improve their mobile experience is improving their websites page load times. The quickest, easiest way of doing this is simply by compressing and optimising images. So get squashing.

Local SEO

Local SEO is growing rapidly in the UK. Recent Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page) updates coupled with people’s migration over to mobile has brought local SEO to the forefront. It’s made SEO far more accessible, actionable and cost-effective for many SMEs. It should be near the top of everyone’s marketing plans in time for 2017.


One of the core enablers of a local SEO campaign is “Schema Markup”. Traditionally, schema is HTML code which “mark-up” your pages with to help the search engines return more informative results for users. However, it’s proven difficult to implement and hard for developers to prioritise – only a handful of adventurous websites really used it.

Google have now integrated Schema principles into Google Tag Manager making schema mark-up far more actionable. Really, it’s a no brainer.


You probably wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing personal details on a non-secure website and Google knows this. HTTPS is a protocol denoting a secure website, making it much safer for users. Google has threatened to demote “non-secure websites” for ages and it’s now getting close to happening. If your website is not HTTPS certified, get it sorted immediately and make the internet a safer place. It could even improve your search visibility.

Digital PR & “Real” Marketing

Links are always going to be important in SEO-land and the discipline has evolved so much over the years:

“Link Building” > “Social Link Building” > “Outreach” > “Link Earning” > and now “Earned Media”

“Earned Media” is a PR term. Ergo, link building has become PR only in a digital domain.

Digital PR makes so much sense. Why separate and dilute your marketing across several siloed channels when you can be collaborating on campaigns that drives all channels? In this environment, the campaigns cost-in more effectively, and ROI is far greater.

(Oh, and want to know if your brand awareness marketing is working? Get an SEO to look at your brand impressions in Search Console!)

SERP Changes

Google has a knack for changing the layout of its “search engine results pages”, often favouring paid ads. Over the coming months, Google plans to move further in this direction pushing paid ads up, organic results down.

Whist this is something to be concerned about, it’s actually not all that bad. However, it’s important to re-examine the expectations and KPIs for SEO and PPC. The key is to best-leverage “user / keyword intent”.

PPC should lean towards converting search terms as it always has.

SEO will likely lean more towards discovery topics and keywords where there are fewer ads. For example, using keyword research to identify content needs that attract researching customers, leading to conversions though brand affinity. Essentially, relying more on getting customers through the backdoor, instead of the main gate.

User Query Led Content Marketing.

Neatly following on from the previous point: Online content in 2017 is likely to start becoming generally more useful and “User Query Led”. I.e. using search data to inform the content strategy, or in other words, creating content that people are searching for and actually want to read!

Dave Clough is Natural Search & Content Manager at Distinctly, Hertfordshire’s leading search marketing agency, based in Rickmansworth. For more SEO reading, check out the Distinctly Search Marketing blog and if you would like to ask a question or make a business enquiry, contact [email protected].

HERTFORDSHIRE: Going For Gold In 1 Month

Excitement is building ahead of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards, which takes place in one month today.

Following the stunning performance by Team GB in Rio, businesses, charities and schools from across Hertfordshire will be going for Gold themselves at HDA16 following a record number of entries.

Competition is fierce across the 13 categories including the “Website” which will presented by Headline Sponsor Nimbus Hosting on the night.

Associate Sponsor Distinctly will be on hand to present to the winners of the “Online Retailer” category at the Presentation Evening which is at the University of Hertfordshire on September 22.

Gold, silver and bronze awards will be won in each category and Hertfordshire Mercury will not miss a second of the event.

Also backing the Awards are Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Supporters of the scheme include the Department for International Trade and Capricorn Media.

Tickets are available now for a limited period, with a special discount offer on tables of 10. Visit the Hertfordshire Digital Awards page to apply.




HERTFORDSHIRE: HDA16 Finalists Announced

The finalists of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016 have been announced and the Presentation Evening tickets are now available.

The remaining contenders in each of the categories are now in with a chance of clinching Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes at the winners’ ceremony on September 22 at the University of Hertfordshire, in Hatfield.

Tickets are on sale now and are expected to shift quickly following last year, which was deemed a “big success”.

HDA organisers claim this year’s event will be even “bigger and better”, with networking and entertainment lined up alongside the awards presentation.

Robin Bailey, chair of the HDA16 Judging Panel and host of the event said: “HDA16 will be a landmark event in the county’s awards scene and we’re looking forward to meeting the many forward-thinking organisations at the Presentation Evening.”

The Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016 Presentation Evening will include an arrival drink, two-course meal and a complimentary third of a bottle of wine person.

The event will be hosted by the former BBC presenter Robin Bailey.

Tickets are priced at £59.95 + VAT with a special 10% discount on tables for ten. To purchase tickets click here.

The HDAs are being supported by Nimbus Hosting (Headline Sponsor), Distinctly (Associate Sponsor), Hertfordshire Mercury (Media Partner), Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Key Supporter), Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce (Key Supporter), Department for International Trade (Supporter) and Capricorn Media (Supporter).

The HDAs are the first and only scheme within the county to celebrate the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities.

HDA16 – The Finalists


Deep Phat Digital
Laydey Katabella
Mercer & Hole
Muddy Stilettos Hertfordshire
Mummy’s Happiness
Murder Of Goths
Vivacious Mum


1000 Mile Sportswear by The Creative Clinic
Bespoke Verse
FB Chain
Tempdent by Netrix
Very English


Lyndhurst Financial Management
Premiere Velocity
Proceed by Shaun Power Design
Royal Connaught Park by Fresh Lemon
VisitBritain by Zoocha
Wildgoose by Tutch Media
WMT Chartered Accountants by Creative Digital Agency


Fluid Studios
Heritage Brides
Lawsons by Innermedia
The Giving Machine by Cariad Marketing
The Horse Diva
The Wenta Group


Akademia by Asset TV
DDS Media
EE ‘Wifi Calling’ by Smoking Rocket
GP Cars by Angela Makepeace Motion Graphics Studio
Link Digital
Wenta Business Centres


Bishop’s Stortford College
Community Health Partnerships by Fresh Lemon
Morgan Davies Bridal by Shaun Power Design
Visit Hertfordshire by Red Bullet
White Hart Developments by Fresh Lemon


Asset TV
Chandler Garvey by Hoot Digital
Independent Buying Consortium by Professional IMPACT Design
Network Auctions by Aubergine
Oakmont Construction by Tutch Media
Proceed by Shaun Power Design
WMT Chartered Accountants by Creative Digital Agency


Daro by Outstanding Digital
Gorilla Warfare by Fluid Studios
High Living Barnet
Matrix Kitchens by Fluid Studios
Nicholas Anthony by Tutch Media
Skin to Love Clinic by Cariad Marketing
Wildgoose by Tutch Media


155 Creative
Bespoke Verse
City Creative by Link Digital
Gentle Giant Design
Joanna Scott Illustration
Mode Print Solutions by Innermedia
The Digital Marketing Consultancy


Bishop’s Stortford College
Hertsmere Jewish Primary School by The Creative Clinic
Isabel Hospice
Muscle Help Foundation
The Giving Machine
The Onslow Trust
Waltham Forest Churches Night Shelter by Hoot Digital


Consilia Wealth Management by The Creative Clinic
Holiday Tots by Advanced Web Designs
Michael McGrath Management Services
RAG Conference 2016
The Foraging Fox by Rubber Cheese
Very English


1000 Mile Sportswear by The Creative Clinic
Cassiobury Tennis Club by The Lonely Pixel
FTA Sport by Link Digital
OnPoint Training by Advanced Web Designs
Renegade Gym by Absolute Creative
SFO Sports Centre
Train Like A Pro By Smoking Rocket


Coltsfoot by Absolute Creative
Freedom Australia by Link Digital
Holiday Tots by Advanced Web Designs
RAG Conference 2016
Visit Hertfordshire by Red Bullet
VisitBritain by Zoocha

HERTFORDSHIRE: 2 Weeks Left To Enter

There are just two weeks left to enter the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016.

Entries have flooded in for the 15 open categories, which include “Mobile App”, “Blog”, “Use of Video for Business” and “Website” since entry opened in March.

The last day entries for HDA16 can be received is JULY 22, at 5pm.

The scheme is open to businesses, from any industry, schools and charities from within the county border.

Designers based in Hertfordshire can submit work on behalf of a client outside of the county.

Entry is free and simple to complete.

Enter here.

The Headline Sponsor of HDA16 is Nimbus Hosting and Associate Sponsor is Distinctly

Media Partner for the scheme is Hertfordshire Mercury and the Key Supporters are Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce and Hertfordshire LEP.

The Presentation Evening will take place on September 22 at he University of Hertfordshire, in Hatfield.


HERTFORDSHIRE: Distinctly Joins HDA16 As Associate Sponsor

Hertfordshire’s leading SEO and PPC agency, Distinctly, has joined forces with the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2016.

Distinctly, based in Rickmansworth, has signed up as “Associate Sponsor” for HDA16 and will present the “Online Retailer” Award in September.

Distinctly was founded in 2009 by Managing Director, Tom Shurville. He believes linking up with the HDAs is an “exciting collaboration” for Distinctly, which boasts an impressive portfolio of clients including electronics manufacturer JVC Kenwood and international furniture retailer, BoConcept.

He said: “We are delighted to be involved with the HDAs, a scheme that celebrates and promotes the digital economy in Hertfordshire.

“For the past seven years we have been working extremely hard to help our clients improve their online visibility and at Distinctly, we pride ourselves on providing innovative and creative solutions that deliver tangible business benefits.

“I think that one of the principal reasons businesses continue to choose Distinctly is because we recognise that every client and every campaign is different. Thoroughly understanding all our clients’ business objectives ensures we set them up for success.”

Distinctly – which also counts the University of Hertfordshire and manufacturer, InSinkErator among its clients – will now take a prominent position at the Awards and a place inside the HDAs logo.

Robin Bailey, Chairman of the HDAs Judging Panel, said: “We are thrilled to welcome a company of Distinctly’s calibre on board.

“Distinctly has proven over several years that they are a most effective, professional and progressive digital marketing agency and I’d recommend them to entrants of HDA16.”

Entry for HDA16 closes on July 22 and the Presentation Evening will take place at the University of Hertfordshire on September 22.

For more information about Distinctly visit https://distinctly.co or call 01923 728191.