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 caught up with Tom Shurville, Managing Director of Distinctly, who shared his insights into advanced SEO tactics for 2017 and beyond.

In this final episode in a series of five Tom explains Survey Based Content. What is it and why you should take it seriously in your business.

What is Survey Based Content?

A key facet of linkable content, survey based content allows you to target specific demographics to ascertain key information and answer questions. This in turn allows you to create content which is tailored to be wholly relevant to the specific age, location and interests of a group, ensuring they are more likely to engage with it through interaction, shares and likes and most importantly, links.

Why do you need Survey Based Content?

With the abundance of repurposed content that exists online and the potential penalties such duplication may cause, creating unique content for your brand is more important than ever in order to build links and drive relevant traffic to your site.

Effective, structured survey data is one such way of doing this. Through detailed planning and research, you can produce content that is truly insightful, interesting and unique, all of which are essential in producing great content.

A survey is also an ideal way to establish authority and relevance in your industry, particularly if you are the first to respond to an event or national piece of breaking news by gauging the public’s opinion on it before anyone else has.

The resulting data can be turned into aesthetically appealing graphs and infographics, plus press releases which can be utilised across both print and digital PR activity, increasing visibility of and authority for your brand or business.

To find out more information about Survey Based Content, contact Distinctly, the experts by emailing [email protected] or calling 01923 728191.


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, contact [email protected] or call 01923 728191.


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: 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: HDA 2015: Finalists Announced!

THE finalists of the first ever Hertfordshire Digital Awards have been announced following a “breathtaking” response from businesses and community organisations across the county.

Entries poured in for the event, which is the first scheme solely to recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities from across Hertfordshire.

A total of 13 categories are being contested including “Use of Social Media for Business”, “Mobile App” and the flagship “Website” accolade.

Gold, Silver and Bronze awards within each classification will be presented to deserving finalists at the Winners’ Evening to be held at Holiday Inn, Stevenage, on September 24 and tickets are on sale now at www.hda2015.eventbrite.co.uk

The Hertfordshire Mercury is media partner for the event – which is also backed by Hertford-based SEO firm iThinkMedia (Headline Sponsor) and SuitRecruit, in Sawbridgeworth.

In July, the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership signed up to support the scheme as part of an ongoing project to promote the digital take-up.

Andy Pritchard, from Premio64, the organisation behind the HDA said: “We are very excited by the amount of entries we’ve received from a whole host of buisnesses, charities and schools.

“The quality is high and the judges will face some very difficult decisions.

“We’re now looking forward to the Winners’ Evening, which will undoubtedly be an extremely busy and exciting night.”

“This is a great opportunity for deserving businesses and organisations to be given recognition for their outstanding work”.

Below is the full list of finalists for the Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2015.

The winner of the 14th category, not listed below, will be presented the “Spirit of Hertfordshire” award at the Winners’ Evening.

It is awarded to recognise an individual or organisation which has gone above and beyond the call of duty for the promotion and betterment of the county of Hertfordshire through their digital work.

Also sponsoring HDA2015 are Capricorn Media, Noise PR and designsixtyfour.com

Hertfordshire Digital Awards 2015 – The Finalists

Deep Phat
Hawk & Chadwick
Holiday Tots
Labrums Solicitors
Muddy Stilettos Hertfordshire
Murder of Goths
Very English

Website: Marketing & Creative
Flow Ink Digital
Hutchinson Visuals
Mahon Digital Marketing
Shaun Power Design
The Lonely Pixel

Mobile App
GMB Trade Union by Netrix
Hertfordshire Police
Insomnia Music Management

Online Business
Bespoke Verse
That Design Store
Tommy & Lottie
Very English

Online Marketing Campaign
26 Miles to the Moon by Andrew Males
Heart by Multiple Sclerosis Trust
Kristall Spaces by Flow Ink Digital
SEC Group by Cariad Marketing
The Caviar Club by Mahon Digital Marketing

Responsive Website
EasyCruit by CampaignWorks
GMB Trade Union by Netrix
Holiday Tots
Independent Buying Consortium by Professional Impact Design
Labrums Solicitors
Maison Paul Bistro by Professional Impact Design

Website: School, Education or Charity
CPRE Hertfordshire
London Hairdressing Apprenticeship Academy by Absolute Creative
Plant Gateway
Southbank International School by Innermedia
The Rooprai Spinal Trust
Trident Media
VAKS Tailored Tutoring

Website: Small Business
CPG Photography
GMB Trade Union by Netrix
Hawk & Chadwick
Hutchinson Visuals
Maison Paul Bistro by Professional Impact Design
The Lonely Pixel

Website: Sports & Entertainment
Soundview Studios by Joph Broadcast Graphics Ltd
Trident Media
Vacant Mind Gaming
SFO Sports Centre

Website: Tourism & Hospitality
501 Places
CPRE Hertfordshire
Maison Paul Bistro by Professional Impact Design
The Victoria Hitchin
Very English

Use of Social Media for Business
Cariad Marketing
Labrums Solicitors
Luke Archer
The WOW! Awards
Top Talent Agency by Loudbird PR
UK FootGolf Academy Watford at Penfold Park

Use of Video for Business
DDS Media Group
IGL Films
Soundview Studios by Joph Broadcast Graphics Ltd
Southbank International School by Innermedia
Tommy & Lottie

EasyCruit by CampaignWorks
Holiday Tots
Labrums Solicitors
That Design Store
The Charity Clothing Company

HERTFORDSHIRE: iThinkMedia becomes HDA Headline Sponsor

One the country’s leading SEO firms – which counts eBay and WWE wrestling among its clients – has become Headline Sponsor of the Hertfordshire Digital Awards.

iThinkMedia, based in Hertford, helps an impressive range of businesses to boost their position on Google search rankings.

The firm – which was set-up in 2008 – has been described as a “perfect” fit for the Awards, which was set-up last year to recognise the online achievement of businesses, schools and charities from across the county.

iThinkMedia offers four main services, namely, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Paid Search Marketing (PPC), Digital and Mobile Display Advertising and Marketing Consultancy.

Train operator National Express and baby goods retailer Mothercare are also among their client portfolio.

“Trust”, “quality of service” and “personable touch” are the hallmarks of their business, says “David Cable, Client Services Manager of iThinkMedia.

He added: “We are very proud to be supporting such a great event and glad to see it hit Hertfordshire after such great success in Essex and Kent. Digital touches everybody’s lives in one-way or another and there are some really innovative people and businesses out there, so we’re glad to see that being recongised in our county.

“We have recently been expanding our services so that we can cater for the vast array of businesses that are thriving in Hertfordshire, so that it’s not just the big name clients that can benefit from our experienced and knowledgeable staff. As we know, the relationships we form today could be tomorrow’s big business.

“We are sure that the caliber of candidates will be very high, making judging difficult, but the team at Premio64 have ensured they have some top judges on the case.”

iThinkMedia will benefit from a range of publicity opportunities through the Awards including coverage in the Hertfordshire Mercury, articles on www.hertsdigitalawards.co.uk and at the Winners’ Evening.

Andy Pritchard, from Premio64, the organisation behind HDA described the appointment of iThinkMedia as a “perfect match” for the scheme.

“We are thrilled to welcome iThinkMedia to the Awards.

“As a leading SEO company they are helping businesses improve the exposure they get on the internet and ultimately boost their bottom line.

“They are a progressive company which is passionate about using the Internet for business and it’s brilliant that we can count them among our number for the scheme.”

HDA is the first and only awards to solely recognise the online achievements of businesses, schools and charities from across the county.

There are 14 categories to enter including “Mobile App”, “Blog”, “Website: School, Education or Charity”, and the flagship award for “Website”.

Entry is free and the Winners’ Evening will take place at Holiday Inn, Stevenage, on September 24, 2015.

Entry will close on July 17, 2015 at 5pm.

To contact iThinkMedia about any of their services call 01438 870220 or visit www.ithinkmedia.co.uk