Judges


The awards are judged by an esteemed panel of industry leaders and experts, the judging is a rigorous two-stage process including pre-scoring to determine shortlists and a judging meeting where entries are discussed and evaluated in detail to decide the winning entries.

From a transparency perspective, we may video aspects of the judging session to show on the evening and give entrants an insight into why a winning entry was chosen.

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Head judges

Grant Simmons | VP of Performance Marketing | Homes.com

Grant Simmons leads the Performance Marketing team at Homes.com, helping drive brand awareness, search traffic, affiliate traffic, and lead optimization for one of the nation's top real estate sites. Grant has over 26 years of agency & brand experience serving industry-leading organizations such as; Paramount Studios, Red Bull, M&M/Mars, Disney, Napster, Warner Bros., UPS, Move.com, YPO, GE, Amgen & Fox Sports. Grant is a popular speaker at search & real estate industry events worldwide, including; SMX, SES, SIS, Pubcon, Brighton SEO, Chiang Mai SEO, UCLA Anderson School of Business, eMarCom, C3, Social Shakeup, Multifamily Brainstorming, R3, DMA, LRTCon, and has written or been quoted in Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine News, Forbes, Fox Business, MSN, Media Post, Yahoo & other national & international publications. Described as an online marketing strategist, motivator, ideator, entrepreneur, asker-of-tough-questions, and "proud American with a funny accent", he prefers; father, sailor, search marketer & expat Brit - though not necessarily in that order when there's a fair wind.

Judges

Matt Beswick | Co-Founder | Aira

Matt is the co-founder of Aira, one of the UK's leading agencies, has worked in Search Marketing for over a decade, and is a regular speaker at some of the industry's most renowned conferences. A technical marketer at heart, his expertise lies in SEO and Paid Media, and can be regularly heard asking Aira's PR team stupid questions that he should really know the answer to by now. He also likes bourbon

Chris Boggs | Founder | Web Traffic Advisors |

Chris has been a digital marketer since 2000, starting in-house in the insurance space and subsequently assuming growing leadership roles across large agencies and SEM firms. Chris has led SEO teams and developed Thought Leadership at two now-Publicis agencies in the 2000’s into early 2010’s. Since founding Web Traffic Advisors in 2014, Chris advises business and agency clients helping to improve performance in SEO, Paid Search, and Paid Social Media. Chris supports organization teams and agencies, but also works with sub-contractors and freelancers to deliver direct campaign execution in paid Media (Search & Social) and SEO. Chris also loves developing and delivering customized team training. Chris has current and recent experience serving major brands on various ecommerce platforms, B2B Software & Industrial, Travel, Retail and other industries.

Michael Bonfils | GLOBAL MANAGING DIRECTOR | INTL MEDIA MANAGEMENT CORP (SEM INTERNATIONAL)

Michael Bonfils is the CEO and Founder of Int’t Media Management with the trade name of SEM International specializing in International SEO/SEM, multilingual content marketing and display solutions. With over 30 network offices around the world, Michael has been critical to the global digital marketing successes of many of the world’s largest corporations. Michael often speaks and writes on the latest trends in global search marketing and has contributed his time to many major national publications and events. In addition to being the founder of his global advertising agency, he is currently a board member of a number of organizations in technology and advertising as well as a former judge for the US Search Awards.

Heather Campbell | Director of Marketing | Search Engine Journal

Heather has over 20 years of industry experience and is the Director of Marketing at Search Engine Journal. Having worked on numerous SEO and PPC campaigns, Heather has a great understanding of how search works alongside digital and offline campaigns. Heather has helped many organizations grow their online and lead generation sales through strong branding and consistency in communication. At Search Engine Journal she is partnering with leading marketers to keep up-to-date on the search industry and digital marketing world and drive return from marketing opportunities. Heather believes community, consistency, and content are the heart of great marketing.

Sarah Carling | Senior SEO strategist | Bruce Clay

Sarah Carling is a senior SEO strategist at Bruce Clay; she has worked in the industry since 2006. After running her own business successfully for eight years, Sarah decided she wanted to get back to focussing on SEO instead of the never-ending variety of other tasks that claimed her time as a business owner. While her primary focus has always been SEO, she has become known for having a cross channel skillset that has shaped her approach of optimizing for the customer more than optimizing for Google. This customer-centric approach started when she started to train clients on forum marketing in the days before Facebook; Sarah realized then that being valuable was the most valuable thing a company could do. As part of the Bruce Clay team, Sarah now works on some of the most challenging clients and marries her value focus with technical analysis and strategies to drive traffic and revenue gains.

Kevin Gibbons | CEO | Re:signal

Kevin is CEO at Re:signal - an award-winning SEO and content marketing agency for brands anticipating the future. Kevin has presented at a large number of conferences around the world, writes frequently online and has worked with well-known brands including Expedia, Deloitte, Pottery Barn and more and was named 2018 search personality at UK Search Awards. Website: https://resignal.com

Bill Hartzer | SEO Consultant

Bill Hartzer is an independent SEO Consultant. He relies on his 20 years of direct SEO experience to provide technical SEO audits of websites, as well as technical link audits and link cleanups of websites. Mr. Hartzer is known worldwide for his research on the topic of search engine optimization and the New gTLD domain names, as well as Dot Brand domain names. He provides research and marketing of white papers and case studies related to the New gTLDs, as well as consulting related to domain migrations.

Scott Hendison | PRESIDENT | SEARCH COMMANDER INC

Scott Hendison is the founder of Search Commander, Inc., an internet consultancy with multiple services and brands. He began selling software online in 1999, attended his first Pubcon in 2004, and is a founding board member of SEMpdx, hosting monthly events and an annual conference in Portland Oregon since 2007.

Karl Hindle | Founder | Wellspring Digital

Karl Hindle founded Wellspring Digital in January 2017 and acts as CEO and Head of SEO (for now). He initially trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen in Birmingham and London UK, but quickly commenced his career as an entrepreneur eventually founding an insurance brokerage, Andersen Hindle Limited which was sold in 2002. He then served in senior positions with a number of British and European countries, including France, Cyprus, Russia and Spain. Attracted to digital since the late-Nineties, at the turn of the century he created a reputation as a technical writer, morphing into a web content creator and was drawn into SEO. In 2009, he emigrated to the United States and worked in agency land primarily as an SEO. He also served as the Digital Director of ChildFund International in Richmond VA and was a member of the Strategy Committee for the global organization. In addition to Wellspring Digital, he is involved as an equity partner in several business ventures in the digital space including Strategic Harbor and SailFish, and he also sits on the board of a corporate governance body. When he’s not working, he can be found spending time with his family and their seven rescue dogs, playing guitar with several other frustrated, middle-aged rock stars, or navigating domestic life with two redheads in the house (his wife, Alissa, and stepdaughter, the Ginger Ninja).

Jennifer Hoffman | VP of Marketing | Banked

Jennifer is an enthusiastic and passionate Marketing Director with over 15 years of experience in brand building and strategic marketing, with an impressive track record of developing key partner relationships and driving business growth. Fascinated by all things impacting the customer journey; brand experience, user experience and customer experience. Hyper curious about new tech, innovation and startup culture!

Motoko Hunt | President | AJPR

Since establishing AJPR in 1998, Motoko Hunt has been providing online marketing services to various companies around the world. Her extensive knowledge of Asia and Japanese markets proves to be highly valuable as her consulting services have made a significant impact on global marketing campaigns for some of the world’s most popular multinational brands. Besides being published in industry websites and printed media, Motoko is a frequent speaker at global search marketing conferences, giving seminars and training about topics on International Search Marketing.

Kenny Hyder | Founder | Hyder Media

Judith Lewis | Founder | DeCabbit Consultancy |

Judith is a renowned international speaker, writer, trainer, blogger and digital media consultant specialising in applying strategic understanding of digital technologies to help businesses innovate and optimise their effectiveness within the new, networked communications environment. She is a regular speaker around the world on SEO, content strategy, link building, paid media, and digital strategy, and has been recognised by her peers as one of the most influential people in the UK digital industry. Judith judges the industry leading Search Awards around the world, and has every year since their inception. She has worked with market-leading global businesses including Google, NatWest/RBS, National Gallery, Fidelity, GalaCoral, NBC Universal, Readers Digest, Bayer, Family Search, Amadeus, AMD, AmEx , Virgin.com, Virgin Startup & more. She has over 23 years of experience, predating Google in her entry into the market, and now runs her own consultancy. She has worked both in-house and agency-side. Judith also blogs about chocolate, has contributed to the book “Pimp My Site” and the Econsultancy guide to Paid Search and rewrote the large foundational Econsultancy Best Practice Guide to SEO.

LinkedIn profile

Debra Mastaler | President | Alliance-Link.com

Debra Mastaler is an experienced traditional marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) specialist with a deep skillset in link building, SEO content strategy and media relations. She has owned Alliance-Link since 2001 and specializes in combining big idea content and smart SEO to build links, traffic and brand growth. Debra is a regular conference speaker, trainer and contributor to numerous search and tech sites and is OMCP certified link building trainer.

Brian McDowell | Senior Director of SEO and Content Marketing | Credit Karma

Lexi Mills | MANAGING PARTNER | SHIFT6

Lexi Mills is a multi-award winning digital marketing expert specialising in PR SEO and data-driven business intelligence. She is President of The Future of Search Foundation and Managing Director of Shift6, an international consultancy which provides training and consultancy services to agencies, businesses and investors, alongside advising government entities on the risks and opportunities of algorithmic technology. Her research work focuses on the opportunities, ethics and risks of machine learning and AI within the sector of internet search.

Luke Monaghan | SEO Manager | lululemon

Luke Monaghan is the SEO Manager for global athleisure brand, lululemon, where he is responsible for helping to drive their organic strategy in the North American market. Having worked agency-side for over 7 years, Luke comes with a wealth of director-level experience from working with many globally recognized brands, leading strategies and solutions across many areas from Technical SEO through to Content Marketing.

Roger Montti | Owner | martinibuster.com

Roger Montti is a search marketing consultant with 20 years of experience. He has presented at major Internet marketing conferences including SES, SMX, PubCon and Affiliate Summit. In addition to SEO consulting, Roger is a staff writer at SearchEnginerJournal.com, he publishes an award winning forum and other websites.

Dudi Nakdimon | Senior Consultant for Growth Marketing

Dudi Nakdimon is an SEO Consultant with 10+ years of expertise on online marketing and digital experience. In the past 6 years he was the Head of SEO at Ladbrokes Coral. As part of his job at LCG, Dudi was responsible for building an in-house team of SEO - SEO managers, content writers and technical specialists, while collaborating with SEO agencies. His experience working for a large corporation with various departments has taught Dudi that the best to achieve SEO results is by educating colleagues throughout organizations on the importance of SEO, working close mainly with Product, Dev, Creative, Legal and Compliance departments. “SEO is more than just work. It’s my hobby and a passion!” – Dudi Nakdimon

Zbigniew Nowicki | Co-Managing Director | Bluerank

Zbigniew has been working in the digital industry for over 20 years, advising market leaders and innovators. Co-owner of Bluerank, awarded the "Best Large Integrated Search Agency" in the European Search Awards 2017 competition. Founder of CEE Digital Alliance and Digital Alliance Int. - business partnerships of independent digital agencies in Europe. Pioneer of research on customer experience and user satisfaction, co-founder of the opiniac.com platform. Speaker at digital conferences in Poland and abroad. Privately - double happy dad, ultramarathon runner, keen on hard rock and Labrador Retriever dogs.

LinkedIn profile

Gustavo Pelogia | SEO Lead | Teamwork |

Gus Pelogia is a former journalist turned SEO, conference speaker, and once-in-a-while blogger. He is currently the SEO Lead at Teamwork, a project management SaaS used by companies like Netflix, PayPal, Disney, and more. Prior to this, Gus worked both in-house and at digital agencies in Argentina, Netherlands, and Ireland. He spent 5 years as an Account Manager and Team Lead at agencies such as Spark Foundry and Wolfgang Digital, working with clients from travel, e-commerce, and professional services, winning several industry awards.

LinkedIn profile

Plamen Popov | Senior SEO Lead Manager | Acronis Global

Plamen Popov is an experienced digital marketer & SEO Expert with history of working for internationally renowned brands. He currently is working as Senior SEO Lead in Acronis, world leader in cyber protection & data security company. Plamen joined last year from the marketing team of Management Financial Group, where he lead global marketing strategies for various fin-tech brands inside the holding. Plamen has a genuine interest in marketing and technology and that drives his experience through out consulting start up companies and leading teams in enterprise brands exploring various aspects of marketing activities including PPC, Social Media, Display, Programmatic, App Marketing and SEO. His passion for Search Marketing & SEO always drives him to learn and explore new possibilities of creating better user experiences and results.

Carrie Rose | Founder and Creative Director | Rise at Seven

Carrie Rose, 27 year old co-founder and CEO of leading search-first creative agency Rise at Seven. Rise disrupted the search industry just 18 months ago, winning Missguided on the spot without a pitch for presenting a search-first approach to creative. The story spread attracting other disruptor brands that wanted a creative approach to their search strategies including Pretty Little Thing, My Protein, Made.com, Game, Playstation, ODEON and more. Now a multi-million pound agency, we operate across London, Sheffield and US/ Carrie vlogs her journey building a global agency in public over on YouTube. She recently featured on campaign magazines 30 under 30 list and voted rising star by content marketing association. Carrie co-founded Rise at Seven alongside Stephen Kenwright in June 2019 taking a lead on our creative content marketing offering, Digital PR and social media strategy. Having worked in SEO for over 7 years and won multiple awards for her creative campaigns and digital PR executions – Carrie spotted an opportunity and a gap to make creative work for search.

Ardalan Salam | VP of Data and Technology | Allied Global Marketing

Ardalan (Ardi) Salam is the VP of data & technology at Allied Global Marketing overseeing all tech/dev and data/analytics initiatives for the company. Coming from a background of film, digital media and web development he later found himself engulfed in the world of search engines, data, analytics, and all things internet marketing. After years of working in SEO and SEM, he joined Allied in 2014 as the Director of Search Marketing - managing multimillion dollar accounts. Fast-forward to today Ardi now oversees the company's tech, data and insights division working on everything from web-development and marketing technology to data, measurement and analytics. He has led large scale data and analytics projects for companies such as Disney, NBC, STARZ, AMC Networks, Wolfgang Puck and has also been involved in major web development projects with a number of clients in the entertainment industry.

Kristine Schachinger | Leading Technical SEO

Kristine Schachinger is a leading technical SEO with over two decades experience working with digital media. Kristine began her career as a front-end developer and website designer. She has helped a wide range of clients from small and medium sized businesses to Reba McEntire, AOL, Superpages.com, and USA.gov. As her digital media experience expanded Kristine incorporated accessibility, marketing, and user experience into her work which naturally drew her to learn and practice search engine optimization in order to help her clients gain greater website visibility. She is now a well known and respected in her field as a regular speaker at industry conferences in the US and around the world. She is also a Subject Matter Expert with columns in Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, the SEM Post, Search Engine Watch, and State of Digital. Kristine is the CEO and founder of Nevada based Sites Without Walls. Her current SEO work includes (but is not limited to): · News Publishers and eCommerce sites · Site Recovery Plans · Monthly SEO support · Site Health Audits · SEO Algorithm / Penalty Audits · Conversion optimization · Site usability and testing · Accessibility (WCAG) · and other manner of Technical SEO She has worked with many SMBs and enterprise clients such as Vice News, Vice Media, Salon.com, Top Ten Reviews, Patch Media, Discover, and Zappos.com.

Eli Schwartz | Growth Advisor | SurveyMonkey

Eli Schwartz is the author of the bestselling book Product-Led SEO. He is an SEO expert and consultant with more than a decade of experience driving successful SEO and growth programs for leading B2B and B2C companies. He helps clients like Shutterstock, BlueNile, Quora, Gusto, Mixpanel, and Zendesk build and execute Global SEO strategies that dramatically increase their organic visibility at scale. In the past, Eli led the SEO team at SurveyMonkey, building organic search from nearly zero to one of the largest growth drivers at the company. He helped launched SurveyMonkey’s first APAC office and oversaw international SEO pre- and post-IPO. Prior to SurveyMonkey, he led user acquisition at High Gear Media, pushing the company from 500,000 new users to 6 million every month in just three years.

Bill Sebald | Founder & Managing Partner | Greenlane Search Marketing

Bill loves this industry. The community, the challenges, the detective work required, all of it. He began started his passion for both SEO and eCommerce in 1996. This included leading the first group of SEOs at GSI Commerce, working with clients like NFL, Toys R Us, Dick’s Sporting Goods, PetSmart, and Calvin Klein. He has offered consultive services through the name Greenlane since 2005, and in 2012 he launched our agency. To know Bill is to love him, and if you know Bill you’ve also surely heard one of his crazy rock star stories from his previous life. When he’s not leading our team, writing on sites like Practical Ecommerce and Moz and our own blog, or speaking about digital marketing, he’s probably in his 80’s shrine, listening to hair metal or watching a bad monster movie.

Doc Sheldon | Founder | Intrinsic Value SEO & Top shelf copy

Doc has been working in digital marketing for nearly 20 years, first launching a content agency, then his SEO agency a few years later. For the last half decade, he’s focused on the technical aspects – responsiveness, page-speed, security and privacy compliance, as well as building custom WordPress sites. Having benefited from the many SEO colleagues who readily share their knowledge with others, Doc enjoys paying it forward, passing along what he’s learned to others. In 2021, Doc teamed up with his partner, Steve, in launching the first of many DeepSEO conferences, bringing together a bevy of high-powered, highly respected speakers for some fast-paced sharing of advanced practices.

Aleyda Solis | INTERNATIONAL SEO CONSULTANT | ORAINTI

Aleyda Solis is an International SEO Consultant and founder of Orainti -a specialized, boutique SEO consultancy-, blogger, speaker, author, who also offers actionable SEO tips in her weekly YouTube video series "Crawling Mondays", the #SEOFOMO newsletter, with a summary of the latest news in SEO, and the Free SEO Learning Roadmap, LearningSEO.io. Aleyda has been awarded as the European Search Personality of the Year in 2018, and is also co-founder of Remoters.net, a remote work hub offering a free remote job board, how-to's, interviews, tools, colivings, events for remote based professionals and teams.

Scott Tehrani | Director of Acquisition

I have over 14 years’ experience in delivering search strategies for a vast array of brands, specialising in technical SEO and content campaigns. I’m currently responsible for all acquisition channels at twentysix where my remit covers SEO, PPC, Display, Affiliates, Content, Digital PR and Social Media.

Rebecca Weichmann | SVP of Operations | Vizion Interactive

Rebecca ensures a smooth transition from initial sales prospect contact to client project kick-off, creating an interactive onboarding process and for all projects running smoothly (on-time and on-budget). Rebecca has created an employee training program to ensure that all staff are up-to-date on the latest Industry trends and best practices, established internal Accounting controls, and implemented human resource policies and procedures to ensure a smooth and simple employee experience throughout all stages of employment. Rebecca has more than 15 years’ experience in Accounting, Treasury Management and process creation and implementation. Rebecca attended UOP with her focus in Accounting. Her previous experience in large corporate environments provided her with a solid understanding of where Vizion is headed and how to help ensure profitable/responsible growth.

Lisa Williams | Senior Director, Growth & Loyalty | Peace Health

Lisa Williams is a 25-year veteran of digital marketing and the author of "When Everybody Clicks: Sustainable Digital Marketing". She has been featured in Kiplinger Magazine, Glamour Magazine, Boston Globe and The Oregonian. Lisa is on the SEMpdx (Search Engine Marketing Professionals of Portland Oregon) Advisory Board. She founded and leads a Portland Oregon LeanIn Circle and volunteers at Emerging Leaders to mentor diverse, aspiring professionals to serve in technology and health care. She speaks at regional, national and international conferences on the topics of digital strategy, marketing integration, team development and leadership. She is excited to be judging this year's US Search Awards. She is the Senior Director, Growth & Loyalty for Peace Health.

Rob Woods | Senior Director, SEO | ESSILOR DIGITAL

Rob is an SEO with over 20 years of experience. He spent 13 years in-house in both e-commerce and publishing, has been an SEO consultant for 8 years, and is currently Senior Director, SEO for Essilor Digital. Rob has spoken at numerous marketing events including State of Search, Pubcon, SMX Advanced, SEMPO Canada / Bing Search Summit, BlueGlassX, IIMA Fusion Conference, DMA Retail, numerous marketing and SEO Meetup events, and served on the Advisory Board for SMX Toronto. He is also the Technical Editor of 2 SEO/E-commerce books from O'Reilly "Social eCommerce" and "The Art of SEO"

Murat Yatağan | VP Of SEO | Brainly

Murat has led marketing, growth, and analytics at companies such as Brainly, Global Savings Group, and Google. Currently, Murat is the VP of Growth at Brainly, building and scaling a high-performing growth team to acquire users globally. Previously, he was a Director, SEO for GSG, overseeing 80+ platforms' organic traffic performance. Prior to that, he led webspam policy enforcement for EMEA markets at Google. Prior to joining Google, he worked as a Research Assistant in the Computer Science Faculty of IUE. He is also an advisor for a few startups and an investor of another few in the early stage. He is a brand ambassador of OnCrawl, an award-winning search marketing intelligence tool. He has been a Head Judge for Global Search and US Search Awards, and a Judge for European, UK, and MENA Search Awards.

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