We are coming to Dubai!

Join the MENA Agency & MENA Search Awards at Asia Asia in Dubai on September 22nd from 6pm - 8pm for an exclusive drinks, canapés and networking event!

RSVP by September 17th with dietary requirements to beth.sedgwick@dontpanicprojects.com


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.

Judges’ Top Tips Become a Judge Previous Judges


We Are Search Awards Ambassadors

Our Ambassadors are; Michael Bonfils, Laurent Bourelly, Roberto Croci, Motoko Hunt, Judith Lewis and Lukasz Zelezny. Find out more about our ambassadors below:

Michael Bonfils

Global Managing Director
Intl Media Management Corp (SEM International)

Twitter | LinkedIn

Michael Bonfils is the Founder and CEO of SEM International, an award-winning global agency with 32 network offices worldwide. Specializing in multilingual digital marketing, they support global advertising agencies and multinational corporations with their international Digital marketing needs from PPC, SEO, Social Media, eCommerce, Content and localization services.

Michael became involved in the search industry in 1997 and since then, has been a regular industry contributor and speaker at conferences worldwide. Over his career, he has worked in-house, at a search engine and has sold his first agency in 2004. Since then, he and his agency has worked with and consulted for over 100 global brands such as Intel, HP, Activision/Blizzard, Medtronic, Mastercard, Sony and many others.

Michael has volunteered his time as a board member for a number of digital marketing organizations and has been a judge on multiple awards worldwide since 2015. He is honored to be a Search Award Ambassador and is committed to increasing its value as a premium, highly recognized award amongst the search industry.

Laurent Bourrelly

SEO Consultant
Laurent Bourrelly S.L.U

Twitter | LinkedIn

In 1994, Laurent started working in marketing and branding. Laurent discovered the wonders of SEO in 2004, by entering a SEO contest. After three months of 24/7 SERP battling in this international competition, he got it. He knew exactly how and what to feed Google in order to help any web page rank at the top of Google SERP. It’s no miracle. If you put in the time and education over thousands of hours, you’ll eventually figure it out just as Laurent has. Like many others, Laurent cut his teeth mastering both black and white hat SEO techniques, adapting and evolving during each google algorithm update to keep himself at the bleeding edge of best practices right up to this very day. Bringing back his knowledge about branding and marketing into the SEO mix became obvious around 2010.

Today, Laurent is one of the very few who can go from high-class Content Marketing to Black Hat SEO while building a strong Semantic SEO main pillar. He took out of the equation all the question marks, leaving only one single question « do you have the means to reach your goals ? » Some other notable achievements include his dozens of industry speeches including TEDx and SMX as well as his positions on as a Head Judge of the European Search Awards, and regular judged for many others. His thought leadership within the SEO community is well renowned from co-forming the notorious ‘DarkSEOTeam’ back in his black hat days, to being awarded third place for ‘All Time Best SEO in France’. The latest adventure is called SEO Conspiracy, which you can find on all the good places Online. It’s all about debunking SEO myths and Google Propaganda, but also helping out by sharing the right strategies to deliver results in SEO and Digital Marketing. Laurent now focuses his time mainly on consulting and has trained numerous SEO professionals, amongst the best in their fields.

Roberto Croci

Managing Director
Microsoft for Startups MEA

Twitter | LinkedIn

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.

Motoko Hunt

President, Int’l Search Marketing Consultant

Twitter | LinkedIn

Motoko has been providing the online marketing services targeting Japan, Asia, and other markets to companies from around the world for since the mid ’90s. Her search marketing consulting services with her extensive knowledge of Asia and Japanese market have been highly valued and made a big impact on some of the world’s popular multi-national brands’ search marketing campaigns.

A number of her articles have been published on industry websites and printed media. She also writes about the Search Marketing and SEO on her blog and other websites. She is a frequent speaker at the search marketing conferences globally and gives seminars and training about International search marketing, In-House SEO, and Enterprise SEO. In 2014, she received the Best Consulting Awards from the US Search Awards.

Judith Lewis

Founder & CEO

Twitter | LinkedIn

Judith Lewis is the founder of the deCabbit Consultancy specialising in integrated digital marketing consultancy and execution. She is a specialist integrated online marketer with skills in SEO, PPC, and Social Media Marketing as well as other digital marketing techniques. She has been doing SEO since before it had a name and has worked both in-house and agency-side. She has judged both UK & European Search Awards, is a founding everywoman Modern Muse and is the coordinator for London Girl Geek Dinners.

Having both an in-house and agency background, her clients have included Google, Virgin, NSPCC, Zopa, Slendertone, the Guggenheim, SAP, Amadeus, Blue Cross, & ShareThis. She works from planning through to execution, integrating her digital expertise through research & analysis, design & build through to deployment. Judith writes for the SEO Chicks and Mostly About Chocolate as well as the Huffington Post. She speaks at various conferences around the world and is passionate about teaching and helping businesses large and small (as well as chocolate).

Lukasz Zelezny

SEO Consultant

Twitter | LinkedIn

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.



Batool-e-Azra | Chief Client Officer | IAL Saatchi & Saatchi, Pakistan

A tough-as-nails business lead, Batool helms the client servicing department. She is a true success story, rising from the ranks to become the youngest female in the country to head the business operations. She has demonstrated success in driving bottom line and top line growth, increasing target audience engagement across categories from FMCG to healthcare and automobiles, telecommunications and fashion. Batool is known for her exceptional ability to bring the outside in and nurture relationships though the marcom ecosystem. She is also the juror in The Dragons of Asia Awards 2021. She is a champion for growth and a believer in developing young potential around her, developing a team that is future focused, leading the agency’s drive towards a more digital first approach in traditional marketing and communication plans. Trust and transparency are the keys to Batool’s successes in building brands. She knows the importance of delivering business results and believes in making impossible possible.

Rodolph Abi El Hessen | Digital Campaigns Manager | Ericsson

A dynamic and seasoned Digital Marketer with a talent for creating high impact strategies. Rodolph is currently the Digital Campaigns Manager at Ericsson, Market Area Middle East and Africa; with over 10 years in digital marketing, coupled with another 6 years in the information technology space. He is wild for optimization, both marketing activities for better reach and impact, as well as work environments to allow space for learning and growth. For the past 4 years, Rodolph has been at the forefront of innovation mentoring tech startups in the Middle East and advising on their marketing strategies.

Urfi Ansari | Managing Partner & Head of SEO | Coursetakers.ae and Coursetakers Global

Urfi Ansari is a Managing Partner and the Head of SEO at Coursetakers.ae and Coursetakers Global; with over 7 years experience in digital marketing. His primary focus is International SEO, Content creation strategy, and Monetization through Ads, Affiliates and Lead Generation. He is also a speaker and has conducted workshops in Universities and incubators across UAE, sharing his knowledge and inspiring professionals to start blogging. He holds a Master of Science degree in Information Technology from Heriot-Watt University.

LinkedIn profile

Hassan Essam | SEO consultant & Founder | Quest Live

Entrepreneur & founder of Quest Live, the first voluntary simulation of the Middle East labor market, an SEO Expert, and a Business Developer I work side by side with founders and CEOs on their business strategies, develop their projects and companies, go to the market and map the way to grow I have been working as an SEO specialist since 2014, Managing hundreds of sites in many fields, including e-commerce sites, corporate websites, and other fields, I have established a new approach to planning backlink building plans and contributing to the dissemination of SEO learning methods by writing and publishing e-books that help and make it easier for beginners to learn SEO factors.

LinkedIn profile

Neil Hardy | Head Of Society Ecommerce | Midcounties Coop

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.

Hafis Ismail | SEM Manager | LAYRASWIM

Hafis is a Google Certified Professional with over ten years of experience in Digital Marketing. He has proven skills in Strategy Development for SEO, Google Ads, and Social Media Marketing across several industries, with a passion for productivity, technology, and success, he strives at developing effective online marketing strategies designed to generate a high ROI.

Jayesh Jain | SEO & ASO Account Manager | Alshaya Group

Jayesh is a knowledgeable SEO & ASO specialist for Alshaya Group in the MENA region. He has a wide array of digital experience having worked in both global brand agencies and client-side roles. He is a strategy-driven and passionate SEO & ASO expert, with a strong track record of driving search growth for huge brands in highly competitive sectors. He has been associated to improve organic visibility for the world's popular brands like H&M, Victoria’s Secret, Foot Locker, The Body Shop, Thomas Cook, Acer, Carrefour, etc. He started his career in India followed by Taiwan and now in the UAE. He lives and breathes all things SEO + ASO and is passionate about bridging collaboration between SEOs, Content team, and website developers. Jayesh has completed Bachelor’s in Mass Media and holds an MBA degree in Marketing.

LinkedIn profile

Lada Kalashnickova | Head of SEO | COPYBET EU LTD

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. Her clients have included Starco, Action-MCFR, and Artec 3D. Lada worked as a Global Head of SEO in Acronis, then she was a Head of SEO at SEMRush. Lada now works as the Head of SEO/ASO in CopyBet EU Ltd, the first social betting platform founded in 2015. CopyBet is a fast-growing tech company, focused on providing the best experience for their customers while following the principles of Transparency and Fair Trade. 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.

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.

Jaaved Khatree | Head of Digital | PPMG

Jaaved first went online in the mid 90s and has been connected ever since. An SEO competition in 2004 piqued his interest in Search Marketing and after dabbling in PPC and eventually moving into SEO, he hasn’t looked back. Jaaved was a founding staff member of Dejan SEO, a renowned Australian SEO agency and has served hundreds of clients in his native Australia, New Zealand and across the MENA region. In his 15+ years in Search, he’s worked across just about every industry with notable brands such as Etihad Airways, Atlantis The Palm Dubai, Fuji Xerox Australia, The Property Finder Group (MENA) as well as hundreds of small businesses from around the world. He is currently the Head of Digital at PPMG, a diverse media group operating across a multitude of vertical sectors such as Content, Brand, Design, Digital Development, Ecommerce, FinTech, EdTech and FitTech. Constantly curious, with an insatiable appetite for all things digital, Jaaved is always looking for answers which is why he excels in Search.

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.

Edgar Liñayo | D2D Brand Manager | Nestlé

"Strategic-design thinker and curious by nature" - I am truly passionate about design, innovation as well as brand building. I have over 15 years of experience focused on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). As a brand builder, I have been blessed to be part of paramount projects for acclaimed top global brands such as Ariel®, Bold®, Pampers®, Always®, Tampax®, Tess®, Naturella®, Vicks®, Ruffles®, Twistos®, Lay's®, Maggi®, Purina®, among many others. Furthermore, I have worked with praised local and regional brands. I took part of the global team at Bacardi Limited, the largest private family-owned company full of passionate employees and iconic brands as Bacardi® Rums, Grey Goose® Vodka, Bombay Sapphire® Gin, Martini®, and shaped by their rich history of spirited entrepreneurship. Nowadays, I am working at Nestlé as part of the central team overseeing EMENA projects.

Krzysztof Marzec | CEO | DevaGroup

CEO at DevaGroup, an agency with the title of Google Premier Partner and Google Rising Star. SEO, Google Ads & Analytics Trainer. Trained the best agencies and media houses directly for Google. Author of two books, over hundreds of articles and highly rated online courses. Lecturer at Jagiellonian University and the Tischner European University. Speaker at dozens of conferences, winning best presentation and audience awards. Founder and organizer of semKRK, barcamp gathering up to 500 participants of the SEM industry. He worked for such brands as Allegro.pl, Neo24, Shoper.pl, Conrad.pl, Interia.pl, RMF Group and Bauer Publishing. 2020 winner at Ads & Analytics day at the largest marketing event in Poland - I Love Marketing conference.

Heba Medoukh | SEO Manager | Namshi

A highly passionate & enthusiastic SEO Expert playing a prominent role in driving huge e-commerce businesses growth and success. Heba highly believes in the power of SEO more than ever, as she has seen the industry constantly evolve & change especially in the past couple of years, which makes it harder to remain consistent without staying up to date & improving your strategy according to the new trends & competition. She has planned the overall SEO strategies including technical health, international & local SEO, keyword strategy, content marketing, backlink profile building as well as ASO for over 20 of the biggest online retailers in different markets mainly in the MENA region to boost user engagement & traffic. Throughout her years of experience, she managed to help multinational brands maximise their online visibility & conversions organically in a very aggressive & competitive industry & during challenging times where her involvement starts from the early pre-launching stages to reaching a stable position online & achieving the desired goals.

Amel Mehenaoui | Head of SEO |

Amel Mehenaoui has been working in Digital Marketing for 15 years, helping small, medium and large businesses grow their organic traffic. She worked with brands like Lacoste, Keurig Canada, ALDO Group, and she’s currently Head of SEO at Puffy. Amel is passionate about SEO, Analytics and Conversion Optimization. Amel also teaches SEO & Web Analytics, and offers customized upskill private training sessions to entrepreneurs, digital marketers, and in-house SEO specialists. Amel enjoys sharing her knowledge on Twitter and Linkedin where she offers advice and shares content on topics around digital marketing, SEO, and Productivity. Currently, Amel is learning and experimenting with integrating Artificial Intelligence in content marketing. Outside of work, she enjoys playing ping pong, and billiards with friends.

LinkedIn profile

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.

Natale Panella | Head of Digital | Fusion5

Natale is a digital strategist and ad-tech professional with a proven track record of successful leadership and online strategy delivery in Europe and Middle East. He has managed a multi-vertical portfolio of 100+ companies in Google EMEA headquarters, where he advised clients on performance and international market entry strategies. Natale first moved to Middle East in 2015 to join Chain Reaction, to lead the SEM practice and to strength Google commercial partnership and product adoption. He then joined Fusion5, with the mandate to turn-around and transform the firm into a performance and data-led digital agency. At Fusion5, he oversees the digital presence of Retail, Automotive, Telco, OTT and Government clients in MENA, focusing on performance, branding, analytics, data visualization and automation.

Akvile Pareigyte | Head of Digital Consulting | VOLTLAB

Akvile has over 15 years of experience in ground-breaking digital marketing. Former head of global digital marketing at Jumeirah Group and Digital Marketing Lecturer at the Digital Marketing Institute Middle East, Akvile now focuses on digital consultancy and is actively engaged in the digital education field globally. She is a member of Google’s Digital Academy in the UK and Google’s Regional Trainer. Akvile works with numerous educational and world's leading organisations as a digital facilitator and digital marketing course content developer. Currently, she facilitates digital courses at PWC Digital Academy, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, and Dubai College of Tourism. Akvile’s innate ability to maximize the web’s full potential has resulted in her being a sought after speaker, instructor and digital judge.

Karan Patel | Commercial & Marketing Director | Etisalat

Karan Patel is the Director of Marketing & Commerical with Etisalat Information Services , have Adept at leading large portfolio of accounts in past like Emirates & HP , currently establish organisation-wide commercial framework and strategic roadmap by deploying innovative transformations in partner acquisition and management model to ensure business growth and track key partners across UAE on online products like connect.ae & yellowpages.ae

Sandeep Poduval | Head of Marketing | Commerical Bank of Dubai

With over 25 years of Marketing & Communications experience, Sandeep has helped build successful brands across a diverse spectrum of industries spanning India and Middle East markets. Sandeep has extensive Banking experience, having worked for 11 years at Union National Bank, as SVP & Head of Corporate Communications and over 3 years at Commercial Bank of Dubai as the Head of Marketing. Sandeep has also held senior positions in Marketing at multinational companies like Warner Lambert India and Tiffany Foods, Dubai and has helped build global brands across FMCG, Foods, Aviation, Healthcare, and Retail and Service industries through his advertising career. He has also dabbled with entrepreneurship running a mid-sized advertising agency and a media agency and a Digital Marketing Training consultancy in Dubai for a few years as well. Sandeep holds a MBA in Marketing and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Sandeep is married with two kids and a dog and is passionate about fitness, bootcamps and running.

Rafay Qureshi | Head of SEO Product | Rain

Meet Rafay Qureshi, A Result-Oriented Online Marketeer and Trainer. Rafay has been into SEO, ASO & all things that come under the organic growth field. Having worked from Local Start ups to Start ups from Y combinator to AliBaba Group to Rocket Internet, Rafay currently Heads the Organic Growth Team at Seera Group. Always striving for Automations, Scalability & Product optimization, Rafay has worked on all sorts of products from e-commerce, B2B, FMCGs, SAAS & Financial Institutions. Rafay is an all-rounder organic growth geek in the e-commerce industry and when he’s not working, he’s playing video games.

Sabiha Shakil | Global Marketing Consultant |

Sabiha is a Marketing Consultant with 18 years of experience across the globe. Based out of Doha, she has an international marketing background having developed B2B and B2C marketing strategies across geographies and sectors. She has provided business and marketing strategy advice to all kinds of businesses- from Startups to Multi-National Corporations. Sabiha is a member of the Women in Tech SEO community in which she is a community speaker and mentor. Sabiha also has spoken at various international events and has judged industry awards like the Global Marketing Awards 2020, APAC Search Awards 2021, Global Social Media Awards 2021, and Global Search Awards. Aside from marketing, Sabiha loves to travel and has been to over 40 countries. She's also a certified Hatha Yoga and Prenatal Yoga Teacher.

LinkedIn profile

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.

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

Kamran Zulfiqar | Brand & Advertising Manager | Byco Petroleum Pakistan Limited 

Kamran Zulfiqar; a storyteller, communicator, and marketer at heart with over a decade of experience in all formats of Marketing Communications and Advertising. He's currently working as a Brand & Advertising Manager at Byco Petroleum Pakistan. Kamran loves being in the business of brands and translates business goals into innovative and well-structured marketing campaigns that delight the target audience and achieve business objectives. He has been crafting initiatives that build cutting-edge brand imagery and consumer recognition. His mantra in life is simple - be consistent because success is never owned, it's rented and the rent is due every day. That is the reason, he is consistently noted for superior job performance, excellent leadership, and motivational skills. Kamran is also a Jury member for The Drum Awards and The Dragons of Asia Awards 2021.

Become a judge

Would you like to join one of our Search Awards judging panels? Complete the form below and we’ll be in touch.