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.

Click here to read our judges’ advice and top tips of what makes a stand out entry.

 

Carlotta Bonafini | SEO Lead | Vodafone

Carlotta is leading the SEO team at Vodafone UK, where she is overseeing the development of their new digital strategy. She started her professional career in the marketing field working for Expedia in the search department. She directed many regional projects before moving into a global position where her initiatives created outstanding results whilst pioneering new processes. She supervised both creative campaigns and technical projects, and launched many impactful ideas. Carlotta graduated from London Metropolitan University and Milan Catholic University and has been living in London for over 9 years. Passionate about high-tech, she is working on improving her coding skills and is always eager to expand her technical knowledge.

Martin SFP Bryant | Media and Tech Consultant

Martin Bryant is a consultant working to help technology companies craft the narrative around their products and business. He was previously Editor-in-Chief of international technology publication The Next Web, and Community Editor at Tech North, where he shone a light on the stories of start-ups and entrepreneurs in the North of England.

Steve Clark | Head of Digital Growth | Tangent

Steve recently joined Tangent as Head of Digital Growth, having spent the past five years in the media industry working across multiple disciplines – SEO, UX, social media, talent, and content marketing – for a long list of well-known clients that includes TikTok, Britbox and DHL. Specialising primarily in organic brand strategies and incremental optimisation, Steve’s primary focus to date has been helping start-ups and scale-ups to grow quickly and sustainably, particularly where budgets and available resource are constraints

Arianne Donoghue | Founder | Founder

A veteran of 14 years’ experience in the industry, Arianne has worked for some of the UK best-known agencies and most-loved brands. She's passionate about helping teams and businesses do the best work they can, through driving strategy, integration and inclusion. Arianne now runs her own small consultancy where she helps agencies and brands maximise their potential.

Jemma Edwards | Digital Marketing Manager | Don't Panic Projects |

Born and bred in the North with ten years experience in the industry, Jemma lives, eats and breathes conversion rate optimisation. Working for a variety of big brands such as ISP’s to bespoke gate services, she’s touched on everything from eCommerce, influencer marketing, SEO and social ads. Now with a passion for B2B marketing & PPC, she heads up the digital marketing for Don’t Panic and the International Search Awards series, which can be found as far as MENA and the USA.

Neil Hardy

Neil has been involved in commercial, digital and online since 1993. With vast experience in commercial partnerships, product sourcing, online strategy, large travel operations , project management and digital marketing.

Lada Kalashnickova | Head of SEO | SEMrush

Lada has worked in digital marketing since 2003. She specializes in all aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), with a focus on technical SEO, multilingual search and mobile optimization. Lada enjoys lifetime studying; most recently on topics around data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning. Her favorite tools are Excel, GWT, GA, Yandex Metrica and brains. Outside of work, she enjoys travelling, yoga, and Japanese Art. Definitely a cat person

Davina Lines | Managing Director | Mixing Digital

Davina Lines is Managing Director of Mixing Digital and the Ecommerce Club. She brings a wealth of knowledge and a big black book of digital contacts to ensure Mixing Digital’s event management services are of the highest standard. Davina co-founded Netimperative in 1999 and became Managing Director in 2002, stewarding the brand into new product launches and creating one of the most successful events programmes in the digital marketing industry. In the mid 90s Davina cut her digital teeth on New Media Age (now Econsultancy), forming part of the founding team and was responsible for the commercial development of the magazine and its early events from launch in May 1995 to 1999. In recent years Davina launched an ecommerce peer-to-peer community, the Ecommerce Club, which runs regular events in London and Manchester on topics relevant to the retail community.

Polly Pospelova | Head of Search | Delete

Polly is the Delete agency’s digital marketing director. She works with SEO consultants, PPC managers, content & PR consultants, and technical developers. Polly works on digital strategies and solutions for major brands in sectors including higher education, sport, property, travel and more. She is also a search marketing conference speaker on SEO, page speed and performance and digital marketing.

Claire Richardson-Critcher | Digital Business Development Director | McCann Connected

Over the last 15 years Claire has worked in media, creative and digital in multiple capacities, from client service to new business development. Claire’s passion for the industry drives her curiosity in all areas of brand and consumer interaction, and her focus on working in close collaboration with skilled practitioners means she is able to build a story around what they do, how they do it and how this drives a transformational outcome for clients.

Peter Richman | MANAGING DIRECTOR | PLUG & PLAY

As the founder and Managing Director of web design agency Plug & Play, Peter has worked within the industry for over 15 years. During this time Peter has partnered with a large number of internal marketing managers to overcome their business challenges and drive growth. By focusing on the delivery of high performance websites and the enablement of internal teams, Plug & Play clients thrive within competitive markets.

Ric Rodriguez | SEO Consultant

Ric Rodriguez is an experienced search marketing consultant with a history of working with internationally renowned brands. He currently works at Yext, a NYSE listed technology company, joining last year from iProspect, where he led a team driving organic search forward for clients that partnered with their sister media agency Carat. Prior to this, Ric held roles at well-known independent digital agencies, most notably within Croud and at Hearst's iCrossing. Ric has a genuine and infectious passion for marketing and technology and is a frequent author and speaker across well-known industry events and publications

Richard Trigg | Experience Design Director | Tangent

If you like chatting about removing assumption from the design process – you’d probably enjoy a pint or two with Rich! As Tangent’s Experience Design Director, Rich’s leads the end-to-end design process from framing problems, prototyping and testing solutions to measure effectiveness.

Juliette Van Rooyen | Head of SEO | VR Squared

Juliette has been an SEO Specialist for 15 years, working on both client-side and agency environments in London & Cape Town. Starting in 2005 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, Juliette moved to London and spent 6 years working for various agencies with clients including Nintendo, Samsung, COI & Shell. In 2012 Juliette moved back to Cape Town where she worked in 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.

Nick Wilsdon | SEO LEAD - GLOBAL CHANNEL OPTIMISATION | nick@wilsdon.co.uk

Nick has worked in digital marketing since 1998. Moving to Russia in 2003 he specialised in multilingual search and broadening his knowledge across digital channels, content and PR. During this time he contributed to the Russian digital startup community; working with Yandex, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the US State Department. Returning to the UK in 2011, Nick then built and led marketing teams at Arena Media, Havas Media Group and the Dentsu Aegis Network. As the technical SEO lead at Vodafone Group since 2014, he has improved online performance and customer experience across 22 international markets. As an advocate for raising standards in online marketing, Nick judges the UK Search Awards and EU Search Awards. He enjoys speaking at conferences on the topics of mobile/data-first marketing, cross-channel campaigns and technical SEO. Outside work, he enjoys cycling and taking part in Prince’s Trust cycling events.

Murat Yatağan | SEO Consultant

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.

Top Tips from the Judges

Gerry White, JustEat 

  1. Don't waffle, make sure it is meat rather than buzz word stuff, if it feels like the paragraph doesn't say anything all it does is frustrate smart judges. Concise answers are often better with a fuller explanation below.

  2. Answer the question, all too often it feels like the question has been missed - going off tangent is fine but front load the answer to the question, we understand you often want to say something else something that really is important to you and your entry but our marking criteria means we need to be able to answer the question. In programming there is something called 'rubber duck debugging' imagine you are explaining this to a rubber duck it works well for programmers, the same principle would apply to award entries.

  3. Don't underestimate the judges, if you say you have done xyz, we can check - we have the knowledge and experience to validate many claims, our knowledge and experience are suitably high enough for us to be able to validate almost all claims. Percentage increases are valid but backed up with enough numbers that we understand it was a real impact not a low number to a still low number.


Daniel Evans, MSL Group

  1. Tell a story! Numbers, clicks, growth, client satisfaction etc are all good as evidence to support why you should get an award, but they are not reasons in themselves.

  2. Don’t be afraid of telling the bad as well as the good. good work in difficult circumstances, or challenges overcome, are just as award-worthy as effortless brilliance.

  3. Remember that to be worthy of an award you need to stand out, not just be creditable. Emphasise what is exceptional about what you are submitting, including what constitutes the “normal” that you are standing out against. the judges may not be as familiar with your specific area of business as you are.