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.

Head judges

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.

Tarek Reda | Founder | Blue Pencil Digital Marketing

When he's not playing his guitar, Tarek is a well-versed digital marketer currently running his own digital marketing consultancy and training company - Blue Pencil Digital Marketing. Tarek has a Masters degree in digital marketing and has been working in the digital space for over a decade. He's always had a passion for Search Marketing, having ran search campaigns for companies across the Middle East, Africa and Europe with monthly marketing budgets ranging from $500 to $500,000. Tarek is also a digital marketing lecturer at academies across the Middle East training individuals and companies on various digital marketing topics including Search Marketing.

Nick Wilsdon | SEO Lead - Global Channel Optimisation | Vodafone Group

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.

Murat Yatagan | 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.

Judges

Roberto Croci | Managing Director | Microsoft Start Ups MENA

Roberto Croci joined Microsoft for Startups team with a wide range of knowledge, having previously worked as the Google Regional head for (EMEA) Emerging Markets (Middle East, Turkey, Israel, Russia, Africa) where he helped businesses by building & mentoring teams that could successfully penetrate new markets and ensure sustainable revenue growth. As a natural born leader, he is passionate about business, people and their growth and has more than 15 years’ experience in various industries - ranging from digital marketing, ad-tech to sales. He will be integral as the Regional Managing director at Microsoft for startups Middle East, in helping startups achieve their goals and build successful businesses by promoting their tech solutions through digital and social campaigns, opening up the right opportunities for growth, customizing a market plan to maximize joint marketing with Microsoft and providing a targeted industry co-marketing and account planning. He has specialized in leadership development as a Harvard Business School graduate and has a proven track-record of creating successful teams and growing businesses in unpredictable environments. He is passionate about Entrepreneurship and is one of the Partners at Strowlers Ventures, a micro VC-fund which invests in international startups mainly founded by top-tier MBAs.

Adam Edwards | Global Head of SEO | Reprise Digital

Adam brings 20 years of experience in SEO across four agencies, one startup, and one software company. Most recently, he grew the Reprise US SEO team from two people in 2012 to win Best Large Agency at the 2019 US Search Awards. Now in Reprise’s first ever global organic search role, he leads over 250 practitioners in 40 markets around the world. He has spoken at multiple industry events including SMX Advanced, VOICE, and Yext Onward. Outside of work, he is passionate about social causes, just having been named to the NationSwell Council after previously serving as a board member for Upwardly Global and an executive producer of the 2018 film, Refugee, that premiered at DOC NYC.

Bastian Grimm | CEO & Co-Founder | Peak Ace AG

Bastian Grimm is the CEO & Co-founder of Peak Ace and a renowned expert in large-scale, international SEO, managing sites of almost any size and in highly competitive industries. With more than 20 years’ experience in online marketing, technical and global SEO, Bastian was named “Search Personality of the Year” at the 2019 European Search Awards: a welcome acknowledgement of his contributions to a rapidly evolving industry. He currently oversees both Peak Ace’s search engine optimisation and content marketing initiatives. Bastian’s believes that understanding a target market means not only getting to grips with the language, but also the culture. This has given him a unique perspective on how to reach global audiences. Bastian leads a thriving team of expert native speakers, equipped to serve clients in 20+ languages, and the results speak for themselves. A full-service performance marketing agency with a focus on “all things search”, Peak Ace has a flair for over-achieving. Having been named a FOCUS growth champion for multiple years in a row, as well as scooping up trophies at both the European Search and Drum Search Awards, Bastian is proud to lead such an innovative, ever-expanding company. His secret? Dynamic, decisive processes, a phenomenal team and always going to bed with an empty inbox.

Neil Hardy | Digital Director | Shearings Holiday

Jennifer Hoffman | Marketing Director

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!

Salma Intabli | Digital Marketing Director | Emaar Hospitality Group

Umar Khan | Digital Marketing Manager | DAMAC Properties

Umar is a passionate digital marketer with over 8 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, CRO UX and others. Umar is currently linked with DAMAC Properties as the Digital Marketing Manager. He also conducts digital marketing workshops & regular classes for well-known educational institutes in Dubai.

Jason Meininger | SEO Product Manager | StepStone UK

This is Jason’s third time judging the MENA Search Awards. Jason has been online since before browsers had graphics, and for well over a decade has been a core part of the on-and off-site SEO programmes at Totaljobs Group and StepStone, Europe’s leading family of online recruitment classified sites. With a background in web design, development, marketing, and project management, his primary focus is scalable, data-led technical optimisation tactics, improving reach and efficiency to drive organic traffic and maximise engagement across a portfolio of large-scale generalist and smaller specialist recruitment domains including Totaljobs.com, Jobsite.co.uk, and Stepstone brands across continental Europe. He also maintains a parallel career in London as a theatrical producer and lighting designer.

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. - international business partnerships of independent digital agencies from 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 - doubly happy dad, ultramarathon runner, lover of hard rock and Labrador Retriever dogs.

Michelle Souster | Digital Analytics Manager | Emirates

Michelle is a passionate digital strategist with over 10 years’ experience helping business implement data-driven processes with world-class analytics techniques. Her current role involves leading the digital UX analytics function for Emirates Group committed to continuously improving online customer experiences; in which search is considered an integral part. Inspired by how technology and data intersect to bring companies and consumers closer, Michelle’s expertise focuses on how analytics can improve the quality of these relationships. Having worked in a variety of sectors including Finance, Automotive, Travel, Healthcare, FMCG… she believes there are few business challenges that cannot be best-solved with a data-driven mindset!

Tim Vickery | Group Head of SEO | Property Finder

Tim is the Group Head of SEO for the MENA region at Property Finder based in Dubai. Tim has a wide array of digital experience having worked in agency and in-house roles covering affiliate marketing, paid search, digital analytics, and SEO. Tim lived and worked for 10-years in Toronto, Canada where he worked on campaign for brands such as Amex, Chrysler, and Aviva. Previously Tim was the Head of SEO for Samsung, as well as holding senior positions with Performics and VCCP in the UK. Tim’s role at Property Finder is to work across the MENA region to increase organic search visibility for brands in The UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Colin Woon | Head of SEO | CV Library

Lukasz Zelezny | SEO Expert and 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