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.

This year’s judging panel will be announced shortly.

Head judges

Jim Banks | CEO | Spades Media |

Jim has over 18 years of digital advertising experience. Since then he’s spent in excess of £220 million buying traffic for over 1000 companies. Jim is a keynote speaker invited to speak at industry events around the world, including Pubcon, Retail Global, Marketing Festival, Friends Of Search, Hitpath Masters Conference, a4uexpo, SES, SMX and Affiliate Summit. Jim has been a regular fixture on the judging panel at the UK, European, MENA and US Search awards for the past four years and is a returning judge for this years UK Search Awards. Never one to shy away from giving an opinion or pulling punches, Jim enjoys critiquing entries at the Awards and seeing what the search community thinks is worthy of winning.

David Edmundson-Bird | Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing | Manchester Metropolitan University

David is Principal Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, where he leads a team of specialist digital marketing academics and runs a number of digital communications programmes. He is co-author of 7th edition of Digital Business & E-commerce Management with Dave Chaffey and Tanya Hemphill. David is Chair of Global Judging Standards for Don’t Panic. His role is to ensure objectivity, transparency and consistency across the judging panels for all Don’t Panic assets, and to provide a quality assurance process in the judging process. He set up Manchester Met’s first part-time MSc in Digital Marketing in 2007, their first full-time MSc Digital Marketing Communications in 2016 and Manchester Met’s Global E-Learning MSc in Digital Marketing. David founded Manchester Met’s Agency Life programme in 2012 to enable students to experience live work skills in the workplace very early in their course. He has enjoyed several spells in academia as well as senior management roles in the digital sector, helped to set up Manchester’s second web design agency back in 1995, He sits on the Board FutureEverything and is a trustee of The Education Trust.

Kristal Ireland | Digital Director and Speaker

Previously voted as one of the UK's Top 30 Women in Digital Under 30. A specialist in Social Media and Digital Brand Strategy, Kristal is an award winning, strategic and experienced digital marketing expert. A regular digital conference speaker and industry commentator Kristal has worked in digital for over a decade developing digital solutions for some of the UK’s biggest brands.

Saif Jarad | MANAGING DIRECTOR | CHAIN REACTION

Saif Jarad is an internet entrepreneur who founded the 1st online performance marketing company in the Middle East back in 2010 “Chain Reaction” and he is the current CEO of the company. At the moment Chain Reaction has 4 offices across the region, serving regional and local brands including some Fortune 500 companies in the region. Award winning agency, Chain Reaction has become the region’s 1st Google analytics premium partner hiring more than 35 digital experts. He is a speaker at many regional events and a digital marketing trainer. Saif has also managed to sign representation deals for the Middle East region with Baidu from China and an agency partner deal with Yandex from Russia. Saif holds a BSc in Robotics Engineering and enjoys teaching Yoga in his free time.

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.

Jon Myers | Founder | Ascending Media

Jon is an experienced leader within the Digital Marketplace with over 19 years’ experience and has demonstrated dedication to the industry over his career which has been recognised when he was awarded Search Personality of the Year 2017 at the UK Search Awards and also voted into Europe’s Top50 Performance Markets 2017. He has worked in senior roles for large agencies, publisher-side with Yahoo, and more recently the Ad Technology space as VP and MD EMEA of Marin Software before joining DeepCrawl and then setting up his own company Ascending Media. He has experience in Paid Search since its inception, and has also worked heavily in SEO, Display and Paid Social over the years. This broad range has given Jon a strong understanding of all sides of the market, a sharp business knowledge and skill set, and many connections across EMEA and the US who recognise him for his experience and thought leadership within the online advertising industry. Jon is extremely active in the Search community, and is most likely to be found moderating, speaking and sharing his knowledge at conferences, webinars and events across the world. He also frequently acts as a judge for awards in the industry, including the UK Search Awards, European Search Awards, US Search Awards and Performance Marketing Awards to name a few.

Luis Navarrete Gomez | Head of Global Search Marketing | The LEGO Group

Luis is Head of Global Search Marketing at The LEGO Group, and defines the strategy for search marketing activity globally for the iconic toy company. On these years in the company, Luis has managed to create a global organization that reaches both children and parents with engaging content in more than 140 markets. He is a regular writer and speaker about Search Marketing and business leadership and plays an active role in the search community. He is a member of the board of directors of SEMPO, the largest nonprofit trade organization in the world serving the search and digital marketing industry. He is also a fellow member of the Marketing Society, member of the advisory board of The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and participates actively at conferences and specilized publications. He is also member of the judging panels of industry leading awards, as the DMA Awards, the UK and US Search Awards, The Drum and The Biddable Media awards. Luis has a technical background on computer science and has more than 14 years' experience in Search Marketing with cross-functional expertise in technology and business management and leadership.

Samantha Noble | Founder | Biddable Moments |

Samantha Noble is the Founder of Biddable Moments, an Paid Media Consultancy Agency dedicated to helping brands increase their revenue through PPC and audience development. Samantha won the UK Search Personality Award at the UK Search Awards 2016 and was also rated one of the top 25 in PPC Heros ‘Most Influential PPC Experts’ list in 2016 and 2017. Back in 2011, Samantha also founded the Digital Females group which now has in excess of 750 members and has held 16 events to date.

Marty Weintraub | Founder | Aimclear Marketing Agency

Credits include Uber, eBay, Airbnb, Dell, LInkedIn, Etsy, Eurail, Firestone, Amazon, Quest, Martha Stewart Omni, Intel, Travelocity, Macy’s, GoDaddy, 3M, InfusionSoft, Siemens, SeagullOutfitters and many more. A fixture on the international conference circuit, Marty has appeared in front of hundreds of international search & social marketing conference audiences, from Jerusalem to Sydney. Entrepreneur Magazine wrote the reason for Marty’s success is a “Unique persona that is instantly recognizable.” He has been described as “not your typical agency type,” a “social media maverick,” “Foodie-Yelp addict” and “more innovator than follower." Having helped Aimclear to Inc. 500/5000 status 6X (2012-2017: fastest growing privately held US Firms), Marty guides Aimclear agency content, vision, services & creative-hands-on. Aimclear is a 4X top 100 workplace by Minnesota Business Magazine. Marty won 4 "Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts" awards, Top 100 Twin Cities People To Know & claimed the coveted "US Search Personality Of The Year” tiara. Marty is a perennial judge and presenter at The European & UK Search Awards. His Wiley/Sybex books, "Killer Facebook Ads'' and "The Complete Social Media Community Manager’s Guide: Essential Tools and Tactics for Business Success" are critically respected. Marty has been cited & quoted in flagship publications including WSJ, NPR, Inc., Forbes, MediaPost & Adage. Aimclear Blog is well read, having been cited as a Top 10 Small Business Blogs, Top Ten Social Media Blogs and PRWeb’s 25 Essential Public Relations Blogs You Should Be Reading.

Nick Wilsdon | Search Product Owner | VODAFONE |

Nick started his online career in 1998, giving his first SEO seminar two years later in Brighton. After moving to Moscow, he became an expert on Russian search, working with gaming clients across CIS markets. During this time he was involved in the Russian start-up community, working with Yandex, RF parliament members and the US State Department. Since his return to the UK, Nick has held head of department roles at Arena Media, part of the Havas Media Group and within the Dentsu Aegis network. As the Search Product Owner at Vodafone Group, he is standardising SEO best-practice and strategy across 22 international markets to deliver revenue growth in a challenging and competitive sector. He is particularly interested in data analysis, cross-channel/device opportunities and strategic planning.

Lukasz Zelezny | SEO Consultant

Lukasz Zelezny, UK Search Awards judge, Top10 UK Social Media influencer and former director of organic performance at uSwitch / Zoopla. Currently is working as an independent SEO Consultant helping in organic traffic acquisition, technical SEO and content marketing. Lukasz started his career in 2005 and has since been responsible for the organic performance of a number of companies including HomeAway, Thomson Reuters, The Digital Property Group, Fleetway Travel, uSwitch, Zoopla. Each year Lukasz is speaking at many SEO and social media conferences. He was a speaker at ClickZ Shanghai China, ClickZ Jakarta Indonesia, SiMGA Malta, SES London as well as Marketing Festival in Brno, Brighton SEO in Brighton and UnGagged in London. Every year he is actively participating in 10 to 20 events as an SEO/Social Media keynote speaker. Additionally, he organizes workshops and meetups where he is sharing tips around SEO, Social Media and Analytics. To get in touch with Lukasz simply search “Lukasz Zelezny” or visit https://Zelezny.uk

Judges

Halide Ebcinoglu | Partner | Kubix Digital

Halide is a digital marketer with over 15 years of experience in Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimization & Business Development. She has a strong passion for all Search & Inbound related marketing. She has worked at Google Dublin before she has co-founded her own agency, Kubix Digital, an international search-focused Digital Marketing Agency based in Istanbul & Berlin. Halide also leads an initiative called Women.Digital, aiming to provide female digital marketers the space to share resources and insights, and to build a collaborative community.

Neil Hardy | Digital Director | Shearings Leisure Group

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.

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.

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.

Richard Keenan-Heard | Head of SEO | Trainline

Richard joined Trainline three years ago from GroupM agency Wavemaker where he spent five years working for global brands including GE Digital, GE Healthcare, Tiffany, Michelin, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer. As a result, he has a diverse background in SEO and brings a wealth of experience to the judges’ panel. With a growth mindset and a passion for trains matched only by his determination to help customers find the best options for sustainable travel, Richard has assembled the team from the ground up. Now boasting a breadth of talent and expertise across European train travel, the Trainline team continue to take on new, more complex challenges.

Mike Kirwan | Managing Director | RMS

Since 2018, Mike has been MD of creative communications agency, RMS in Altrincham. Prior to this, he was the longstanding Commercial Director at digital marketing agency Latitude for 11 years where he worked with a number of high profile brands such as bet365, Tesco, Post Office and Brewdog. He is also an experienced troubleshooter and board advisor for brands. Before digital, he worked for over a decade in advertising agencies including Yellow M, BJL and Gyro International. He has an award-winning and innovative approach to business strategy - keeping it simple, being creative and ensuring real focus from his team.

Mark Kuhillow | Founder | R.O.EYE

Starting his career on 1994, Marks media roots are firmly planted within the offline direct response world, moving online in 1999. Seeing the opportunity to apply a digital direct response agency model to affiliate and performance marketing campaigns, Mark founded R.O.EYE in 2004. Now seen as the largest specialist in its sector, R.O.EYE counts the likes of HMV, Best Western and Jessops amongst its clients.

Dudi Nakdimon | SEO Consultant and previous head of SEO | Ladbrokes Coral

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!”

Farhaad Saleh | SEO Manager | Rightmove

Eli Schwartz | Director of Growth | SurveyMonkey

Eli Schwartz is the Director of Growth for SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading People Powered Data platform enabling curious individuals and companies – including 99% of the Fortune 500 – to have conversations at scale with the people who matter most. He oversees SurveyMonkey’s SEO and viral product strategies for the entire product portfolio of SurveyMonkey, Wufoo, SurveyMonkey Apply, and Tech Validate. Prior to his current role, Eli was the Director of APAC Marketing for SurveyMonkey based out of Singapore. In this role, he oversaw a significant expansion of SurveyMonkey’s user penetration all across the Asia and Oceania regions. Eli is also a frequent speaker at marketing and growth conferences and a regular author for popular business and marketing publications.

Phil Tiley | Go to Market Lead | MICROSOFT ADVERTISING

Phil started his SEM journey back 2008, spending the following 8 years managing flagship clients and teams within Publicis Groupe. In 2015 he left agencyland, joining the account management team at Microsoft Advertising. Working with large sophisticated advertisers, he was fortunate to be involved in the incubation of numerous products, quickly discovering a passion for this side of the industry. Since 2018, Phil has taken on a more strategic and product focused position as Microsoft Advertising’s Global GTM lead. His role, align engineering, marketing, operations and sales teams on blockers and opportunities to effectively deliver Microsoft’s search and audience products to clients.

Juliette van Rooyen | HEAD OF SEO | VR SQUARED

Juliette is an SEO Specialist with more than 14 years experience in both client-side and agency environments in London & Cape Town. Starting as a developer, she was lured to the dark side of SEO with the promise of being more creative. After getting a taste for SEO, she moved to London and spent 6 years working for various agencies. Her clients included Nintendo, Samsung, COI & Shell. She returned to Cape Town where she worked on the gambling industry on the client-side, spearheading multi-region and multi-language strategies for global casino brands. After 6 years of working in that arena, Juliette returned to London in 2018 to lead UK SEO for a multinational ecommerce brand.

Thomas Vosper | Founder | Aisle3

With over 12 years in ecommerce Thomas has a long record of delivering growth for many of the largest names online. During over six years at Amazon, he led strategic seller acquisitions; executed new category launches; and delivered cutting-edge merchant services. After moving to Tesco, he tripled their marketplace business in twelve months. He founded online marketplace Aisle3 in March 2020. Thomas has a detailed insight on strategy, performance marketing and operations across thousands of eCommerce sites, high street stores, and digital marketing agencies

Michelle Wilding-Baker | HEAD OF DIGITAL & CONTENT | FREESAT

Michelle is a globally award-winning digital marketer who specialises in data-first customer acquisition (owned/paid/earned), SEO and content strategy. She graduated with First Class Honours in Communication Studies (Journalism) and is armed with more than a decade of marketing and editorial experience across international, SME and start-up brands in highly competitive FinTech, Insurance, Travel, Beauty, eCommerce and publishing industries. Now leading the digital marketing, eCommerce, editorial, content and social strategy remit at Freesat and consulting on a project-basis for Oh Mishy, she previously completed 2.5 years as Head of SEO & Content at The Telegraph Media Group where she hired and led the ‘Best Brand SEO Team’ of 2019. Michelle regularly judges industry marketing and eCommerce awards, guest speaks at events and co-organises the ‘Take It Offline' Digital Marketing Roundtable in London and Europe.

Murat Yatagan | VP OF GROWTH | BRAINLY

Murat Yatağan is an SEO Consultant with 10+ years of expertise on SEO and UX, of which 5 years derives from his Senior Product Analyst role at Google Search Quality Team (aka. Trust & Safety) in Ireland. During his consultancy career he built expertise on technical SEO, high quality content creation strategy, outreach and international SEO throughout managing 65+ clients globally from various business verticals. Currently, he works at Brainly as VP of Growth in Poland. Before joining to Brainly, he worked at Global Savings Group as a Senior SEO Manager with a specific focus on technical SEO and offsite quality between 2017 and 2018 in Germany. He is a member of Advisory Board at a San Francisco based startup Indisera focusing on growth strategies and technical consultancy. He has been a Judge for UK Search Awards, MENA Search Awards and European Search Awards since 2016, and he also became a Judge for US Search Awards in 2018. He's also an Ambassador of OnCrawl.