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

Darian Kovacs | FOUNDING PARTNER | JELLY DIGITAL MARKETING & PR |

Co-founder of the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference, Forbes contributor, host of Amazon Prime’s hit show Marketing Jam, marketing professor, author and practitioner - Darian brings his wealth of experience and educational and interactive teaching style to conferences and workshops all over North America. Darian spends most of his time with Jelly Digital Marketing & PR - a firm that specializes in working with brands of all shapes and sizes. Darian's weekly show has had guests from LEGO, Starbucks, Twitter, Google, PepsiCo and Buzzfeed. Darian also contributes to The Lawyers Daily, Adweek and Entrepreneur magazine and loves spending time with his four kids and wife in Historic Fort Langley.

LinkedIn profile

Judith Lewis | Founder & CEO | Decabbit Consulting |

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

Judges

Jenny Abouobaia | Co-Founder | Clever Touch Marketing

Jenny is an experienced and highly accomplished SEO consultant and mentor. Jenny's specialty within search falls in affiliate SEO, with years of expertise in both building and managing six-figure affiliate niche sites for clients worldwide, with a focus in the APAC region. She is also the Co-founder of Clever Touch Marketing a leading agency based in the MENA region that specializes in the development and production of SEO content. Jenny is a strong advocate for women in SEO. Her agency was founded with the goal of offering more opportunities and long-term, steady employment for women. This is still true today, with over 80% of her staff and her entire management team being exclusively female. She is an active member of multiple female-positive SEO communities including Women in Tech SEO and Sisters in SEO. Most recently, while still managing her agency and actively performing client work, Jenny has built a mentoring and consulting program specifically for budding female SEOs, where she looks to support as many women as possible as they start their careers within the industry.

Dawn Anderson | Founder | Berty |

Dawn Anderson lectures on search and digital marketing strategy at Manchester Metropolitan University, is an international conference speaker (UK, US, AUS, IT), a trainer, and runs a digital marketing and international SEO consultancy agency, Bertey based in Manchester, UK. Dawn has spoken at some of the leading UK and global search marketing conferences, including Pubcon (Las Vegas and Florida), SASCON (Manchester, UK), European Search Conference (Liverpool, UK), Search Leeds (Leeds, UK), Brighton SEO (Brighton, UK), SMX London (London, UK), SMX East (San Jose, US), Ungagged London (London, UK), Ungagged Las Vegas (Las Vegas, US), MozCon (Seattle, US) and State of Search (Dallas, US). Dawn has also spoken at conference across Europe and as far afield as Australia. Dawn has been in digital marketing and SEO for 12+ years and works with leading brands providing digital marketing and SEO strategy and consultancy across a number of sectors. She is a Northern Digital, UK, EU and US Search Awards Judge. Dawn also contributes to leading search marketing industry publications such as Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, The SEMPost, State of Digital and Smart Insights. Dawn also supervises Masters dissertation students undertaking their MSc in digital marketing strategy at Manchester Metropolitan University and also lectures and undertakes workshops on search and marketing analytics teaching International Fashion Promotion students at Manchester Fashion Institute

LinkedIn profile

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

LinkedIn profile

Laurent Bourrelly | SEO CONSULTANT | LAURENT BOURRELLY S.L.U. |

I started SEO for real in 2004 by ranking 3rd in a SEO contest, but I come from a marketing and public relations background. After discovering how to spam Google, I lived the life of super affiliate and clic whore until 2008 when I switched to the consulting side of the business. Since then, I also started a speaker’s career and got more involved in the SEO community in France. I am still running a few personal projects on the side, but my main focus is to rank high on Google for my clients. Of course, I also embraced on other fields of search, especially SEA, Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing.

Shannon Cross | Senior Manager, eCommerce | Nestlé Purina PetCare

Shannon is a proven leader in eCommerce Marketing, specializing in retail and brand search. She currently works in the CPG industry leading search and omni-channel marketing strategies for Nestle Purina Petcare in Canada, and consults for many of Nestle’s other brands at a global level. Throughout her 6+ years of experience, Shannon has managed digital marketing strategies for organizations of all sizes and in a variety of industries including law, healthcare, pet food, and real estate to name a few. She is a Lead Instructor at Brain Station in Toronto, educating the industry’s up and coming professionals in digital marketing, and has guest lectured at Fanshawe College and Western University. Shannon has previously been a judge for the Ontario Colleges Marketing Competition, and was a finalist in the Global AdWords Business Awards in 2015.

LinkedIn profile

Pierre Far | DIGITAL PRODUCT MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT & FOUNDER | Deliberate Digital

Pierre is a digital product management consultant, with a specialty in SEO. Prior to founding Deliberate Digital and Blockmetry, Pierre held several roles at Google and the technology sector in the UK, including product management, community management, innovation consulting, and online marketing. He’s a regular speaker, author, and advisor about technology topics, and has a Ph.D. in microbial genetics from the University of Cambridge, UK.

Jean-Baptiste Garnier | Head of Online Sales & Marketing | Foyer Global Health

Jean-Baptiste is heading Online Sales and Marketing for the International Health Insurance division of Foyer Assurances, Luxembourg’s leading insurance company. Foyer Global Health is operating all over the World and provides Health coverage for expats, digital nomads and globetrotters. Previously to this role, Jean-Baptiste acted as Deputy General Manager for GroupM Connect, and developed the Digital practice for international clients such as Europcar, Disneyland Paris, Intuit, etc. With over 15 years of expertise in Online acquisition, and long lasting interest in Search Marketing, Jean-Baptiste’s strong appetite for innovation, technology and data is still very vivid.

LinkedIn profile

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.

LinkedIn profile

Adam Guerguis | Digital Marketing Manager | Airbnb |

Based in Montreal and currently leads organic growth marketing for airbnb LUX, Adam has more than 10 years in search marketing experience and has been working with very exciting brands in several industries, languages, and sizes like Yahoo!, MSN, Groupon, UNHCR, Skrill, and others. Adam is also a digital marketing trainer, guest speaker, digital marketing blogger since 2010, and a MSc. Marketing Candidate.

LinkedIn profile

Neil Hardy | Digital Director |  MID COUNTIES COOP

Neil has been involved in the digital industry since 1994 when he launched his first website for travel brand Page & Moy. He has worked for several blue-chip companies including TUI, The Co-op, Icelolly, Midcounties Co-op and more recently Shearing’s Holidays. With a strong commercial background, digital results and ROI are key focus points in any award judging. Follow Neil on Twitter @hardyneil

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.

LinkedIn profile

Jim Hedger | Digital Always Media Inc.

Jim Hedger is a writer, SEO, broadcaster, and an activist. Based in Toronto, Jim has worked as a SEO for the last two decades. In that time he has spoken at most major conferences, written for many of the major SEO trade journals, worked with countless clients, and tried to help other SEOs with their careers. Jim is cohost of the popular Webcology podcast featured at WebmasterRadio.FM, on iTunes, at iHeartRadio, and available at all fine podcasting distribution outlets near you.

Simon Heseltine | VP OF AUDIENCE GROWTH | TRADER INTERACTIVE

Simon Heseltine is the VP of Audience Growth at Trader Interactive in Norfolk, VA. His team is responsible for all traffic channels for industry leading sites such as Cycle Trader, RV Trader, Equipment Trader and Commercial Truck Trader. Simon has led US Search Award winning teams at ForRent (2017) and AOL (2014), also working in-house at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and for several years on the agency side. Simon taught digital marketing for 5 years at Georgetown University, and was on the board of SEMPO for 4 years, 2 as VP of Education. Simon is a frequent speaker / trainer / moderator at conferences around the world on a variety of online marketing topics. He has a BA (Hons) from the University of Humberside, and a Masters in IT from Virginia Tech

Cheryl Hill | Digital Marketing Director | SkipTheDishes

Cheryl Hill is the Director of Digital Marketing at SkipTheDishes, Canada's leading and largest food delivery network. Cheryl leads Skip's media buying and digital strategy across CRM, Paid Media, SEO, and Social Media via data-driven insights that connect with Canadians. Prior to Skip, Cheryl served at Metric Marketing as Director of Digital Marketing, where she established teams and led the creation of all digital products. For more than a decade, Hill also led her own successful digital marketing consultancy and honed her trade in the UK finance industry, where she pioneered a digital marketing team within the largest mortgage, insurance, and loans brokerage in Scotland.

LinkedIn profile

Motoko Hunt | President, Search Marketing Consultant | 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.

LinkedIn profile

Alan K'necht | Public Speaker & Principle | K'nechtology Inc |

Alan K'necht started his involvement with the digital world back in 1996 building websites and participating in the precursors to what would evolve into Social Media. Over 20 plus years he’s provided consulting services ranging from web development, analytics, search markeing/SEO and social media marketing to fortune 500 companies, government departments, military and small & medium size businesses. Through analytics, Alan has always helped clients measure and maximize their Return on Investment (ROI) for their digital marketing initiatives. At present he operates his consulting company K'nechtology Inc.

LinkedIn profile

Brendan Keegan | Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing | Manchester Metropolitan University

Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School Brendan has taught digital marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School for eight years after a short career in agency land. With a background in communications and web development, his research interests centre around strategic digital marketing in the services industry. Recently awarded a PhD in Social Media Marketing Campaign Development, he utilised networks of digital agencies in the North West to develop a conceptual framework of campaign strategy development using new and emergent technologies.

Umar Khan | Senior Digital Strategist | Nakheel

Umar is a passionate digital marketer with over 9 years of experience in managing high budget digital marketing campaigns. With experience and expertise on all the verticals of Digital Channels including SEO, Google Ads, Social Media, Content Marketing, Programmatic, Marketing automation, CRO, UX, analytics etc. Umar has worked with top companies in UAE and currently linked with Nakheel as the Senior. Digital Strategist. He also conducts digital marketing corporate workshops & regular classes for well-known educational institutes in Dubai.

George Konidis | SEO Consultant

George has worked on some of the largest online brands in the world with an overall contribution of over 15 billion monthly impressions. George works with clients to help scale their search efforts, develop content marketing ideas, and contribute to their overall growth strategies.

LinkedIn profile

Francisco Leon de Vivero | Global SEO Framework Lead | Shopify |

Francisco Leon de Vivero, became passionate about Search Engine Optimization in 2007. Francisco has an extensive knowledge of SEO and SEM, working with renowned brands many of which are among the world’s top 50 most visited websites. Francisco is specialized in helping multinational companies expand into foreign markets and capture additional organic growth. Currently he is responsible as Global SEO Framework Lead at Shopify.

LinkedIn profile

Carla Marshall | Head of Content Marketing | Vidiq |

Carla Marshall is the Head of Content Marketing at YouTube analytics platform vidIQ. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com and TubularInsights.com, and the Community Manager for the ReelSEO YouTube Channel. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the UK, US, and EU Search Awards.

LinkedIn profile

Matt McGowan | Director & General Manager | Snap Inc |

A born and bred New Yorker turned Torontonian who has lived on 3 continents, Matt has worked alongside executives and founders representing some of the world's best known and thousands of relatively unknown brands, agencies, and technology companies. Matt most recently served as President and a member of the Board of Directors at the SaaS juggernaut Adestra, an enterprise martech Email Service Provider and Marketing Automation Platform.

LinkedIn profile

Xavier Naudeau | SEO Consultant | Philip Morris

Xavier is an SEO digital data-driven consultant who thrives on understanding consumer's behaviour to optimize their Search Journey through Digital. After nine years of combined experience between SEO, Web Analytics and Data, he now works within Business Intelligence at Philip Morris International to provide critical insights on digital performance for the smoke-free future campaigns.

Audrey Ooi | Regional Digital Marketing Manager

Audrey is a marketing expert with over 10 years of experience in traditional and digital marketing. Her specialty is in digital marketing, including SEO, paid search, organic and paid social, web analytics, and web design and development. She has worked in multiple industries for organizations of all sizes, including sectors as diverse as telecommunications, non-profit and tourism. A versatile professional, she has also worked in product management, business strategy, branding and user experience as well as co-founded a technology start-up that successfully raised investor capital. She is currently the Regional Digital Marketing Manager, US & Canada for Crimson Education, and is also the founder and CEO (Chief Eating Officer) of Tasty Tours, an award-winning Toronto food tour and chocolate tour company.

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.

Bob Rains | SEO Executive & Growth Marketing Strategist |

At this point, to keep this bio brief, it would make more sense to list the companies Bob hasn’t worked for and dramatically impacted. A trusted and experienced voice in SEO, Internet Marketing and Google advertising, Bob’s inane curiosity and switch flipping leads him to constantly seek new ways of doing the same old work, but in ways that satisfy both him and the client. After amassing enough airline points to get to the Moon and back (with a sweet bucket of conference lanyards,) Bob is currently running a successful consulting business from a log home on an island off the coast of Vancouver His Greatest Hits are handily located on LinkedIn

LinkedIn profile

Dominique Seppelt | Peak Ace AG |

Dominique Seppelt is Head of SEO & Content Marketing at Peak Ace AG and has 8+ years experience within content marketing. She develops internationally scalable, innovative content marketing concepts and strategies. Her campaigns are both target audience and search-oriented, with dynamic outreach strategies that ensure that the right recipients are reached. With this approach she increases customer brand awareness and website traffic, generates leads and improves conversions and customer retention.

LinkedIn profile

Aleyda Solis | International SEO Consultant | Orainti |

Aleyda Solis is an award winning International SEO Consultant -service that she provides with her company Orainti-, a blogger (Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal and Moz), author of the SEO book in Spanish “SEO. Las Claves Esenciales” and experienced speaker (with more than 100 conferences in 20 countries in English and Spanish). Awarded as the European Search Personality of the Year in 2018 at the European Search Awards, included in Forbes as one of the 10 Digital Marketing specialists to follow in 2015, in Entrepreneur as one of the 50 Online Marketing Influencers to follow in 2016 and in Hubspot as one of the 59 Female Marketing and Growth Experts You Should be Following, she has been also interviewed in publications such as The Huffington Post and in the Google Partners Podcast.

LinkedIn profile

Alexandra Tachalova | Digital Marketing Consultant

Alexandra is a frequent speaker and founder of the digital marketing conference, DigitalOlympus.net. She also helps clients with digital PR, content marketing, and link building. Besides that, she regularly contributes to leading digital marketing blogs, including Moz, SEJ, Salesforce, SMExaminer, and many others

Melissa Tirey | Chief Operations Officer | Shift6

Melissa Tirey is Melissa is COO of Shift6 and Vice President of The Future of Search Foundation. She has over 15 years experience in digital marketing and specializes in seamlessly integrating the precision and expertise of her technical SEO skills to enhance PR, content strategy and social media performance. She has worked extensively in B2C and B2B marketing across the USA, Europe and Canada. Her background in neuroscience supports the team and consulting specialists in ensuring the scientific accuracy of media materials. Melissa is also the Vice President of the Future of Search Foundation, which is focused on how humans and machines change the search landscape with the goal of building best practices for a logical, sustainable and healthy search environment. She has extensive experience in the USA, UK and Canada working in the medical sector alongside technology, business and more recently with consumer focused brands. She understands the nuances of marketing silos and geographies from both a data and human resource perspective and as such has an exceptional ability to design and build strategies that get these teams working together in a synergistic manner. Leveraging the tools and data from these different industries enables her to build and repair online reputations for clients and individuals. This skill also supports her ability to build data driven reporting, strategy and optimization alongside market viability analysis for new products and services.

Angela West | Professional copywriter & social media manager

Angela West is the owner and founder of Working Web Copy. She specializes in SEO-optimized copywriting and social media management, with over two decades of experience in digital copywriting and marketing. Angela has held various positions in the industry that have led to her develop a well-rounded skill set, including social media director, copywriter, and web designer. As the owner of Working Web Copy, Angela develops content marketing strategies that seamlessly translate industry concepts into easily digestible messages that attract search engines and engage readers. She has been repeatedly praised for her transparency and communications acumen, going the extra mile to deliver high quality sector-specific content for her clients. She has worked for some of Canada’s largest corporations, small local businesses, and global companies from Paris to London to Silicon Valley. She prides herself on doing the best job for everyone she commits to as a client, no matter their importance or size.

Rob Woods | SEO Consultant

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"

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