The awards will be judged by a 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 to give entrants an insight into why our winners were chosen.

The 2019 judging panel was as follows:



Elmer Boutin

Director of Organic Search |

Elmer is Channel Director, Organic at VMLY&R and is assigned to WPP sister agency, GTB, as their Director, Organic Search (SEO). Following a career in the U.S. Army, he has worked in digital marketing for over 20 years doing everything from coding websites to managing online reputation management efforts as both an independent contractor and a corporate webmaster. In his assignment with GTB, a global advertising agency and strategic marketing partner for Ford, he leads the team doing organic search optimization on websites for Ford and other clients.

Trish Carey

Managing Director, SellerEngine |

Trish Carey is the Marketing Director for a software & services company that helps 3rd party Amazon sellers improve their business, and the Partnership director for SEMpdx, Portland-based non-profit that helps marketing professionals. Trish is a regular speaker at Pubcon, and other marketing conferences. Trish is also a fan of travel, food, and wine.


Juntae DeLane

Digital Marketing Strategist | Consultant | Trainer |

Juntae is the founder of the Digital Branding Institute, and CEO of DIGITAL DELANE. Juntae has worked with many brands across various industries such as Coca-Cola, Sony, Verizon, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures and many others. He is noted as a Top Social Media Influencer in several publications and has spoken around the country advancing the practice of digital branding. Juntae has delivered talks for events and organizations including Social Media Week, Content Marketing World, Social Fresh, Hootsuite, Social Media Marketing World, Brand+Aid, and Digital Hollywood to name more than a few.  

Kevin Gibbons

Managing Director, Re:signal |

Kevin is co-founder and 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.

Keith Goode

SEO Manager, Security, IBM |

Keith Goode is the Senior SEO Strategist for Security Intelligence at IBM and brings over 20 years of experience in the online sphere and over a decade of experience in In-House and Enterprise SEO. He has worked for small and large enterprises including HomeAway, Dell, seoClarity and IBM, and he has presented at dozens of conferences worldwide, including Pubcon, SMX, Cross Forum, and Digital Summit. A big proponent of democratizing SEO, Keith helped build the Search Certification program at Dell University and regularly presented a Technical SEO class, and he currently is building an SEO enablement and education program at IBM. 


Danny Goodwin

Executive Editor, Search Engine Journal |

Danny Goodwin is Executive Editor of Search Engine Journal. In addition to overseeing SEJ's editorial strategy and managing contributions from a team of 60+ industry experts, he also writes news and articles about SEO, PPC, social media marketing, content marketing. Danny has been a professional editor, writer, and ghostwriter in the marketing industry for 10 years.

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


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.

Navah Hopkins

Services Innovation Strategist, Word Stream |

Navah Hopkins is part of the Customer Success and Thought Leadership teams at WordStream. She began working in digital marketing in 2008, transitioning from SEO to paid search in 2012. Since that time she’s worked with SMBs and the agencies who serve them across the globe, helping them unlock the full potential of their budgets, as well as turn PPC into a scalable part of their organizations. When she’s not working with clients, she shares lessons learned through international conferences including SMX, PubCon, Search Marketing Summit, Google customer events, as well as local workshops. She was named one of the top 25 most influential PPC marketers, and likes to pay it forward by mentoring future marketers at local universities.

When she’s not empowering customers or speaking, Navah loves gaming with her husband and playing with her rescue dog, HK-47 (star wars), and Ocicat siblings, Chinook and Kiowa. Connect with her on twitter @navahf and follow #ppcpuppy on Instagram for ppc tips from HK.

Motoko Hunt

President / International Search Marketing Consultant, AJPR |

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 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 form the US Search Awards. 


Topher Kohan

Senior Product Manager Seo & Aso, The Weather Company And Ibm Company |

Topher Kohan came to The Weather Company after 2 years at Rockfish Interactive and after 5 years as the in-house SEO coordinator at, a division of Turner broadcasting and a Time Warner company. Prior to CNN, Topher spent two years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta performing site maintenance and SEO.

As the SEO coordinator for CNN's digital news properties (including CNN, CNN International, HLN, CNN Mexico and iReport), he realized a 25 percent increase in traffic from search year to year and oversaw the two largest volume search traffic days in CNN's history in the days leading up to the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. He also managed the technical design and SEO for the fall 2009 re-launch of as well as the design, implementation and migration to the current Content Management Systems (CMS). He managed and monitored the largest percentage of search referrals to for the 2012 Presidential election, launched, and the managed the migration of iReport to the platform during his tenure.

Topher is a graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta with a degree in web development and interactive media design with an emphasis on SEO/SEM.

Topher is very proud to be a Eagle Scout.

Topher served two years on the SEMPO Atlanta board. He was a keynote speaker at the 2011 PubCon Vegas, and a featured speaker at multiple SMX, SES, PubCon and Digital Summit conferences.

Peter Leshaw

Marketing Strategist |

Peter Leshaw is the Sr. Dir. of Digital Marketing at PeakActivity, a talented group of disrupters, thinkers, problem solvers, learners and innovators focused on creating, cultivating, and delivering business growth for Fortune 500 companies and other e-commerce brands.

Peter is a well-known Internet Marketing expert. As the past-president of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association, and a regular speaker at prominent marketing conferences for more than a decade, Peter is recognized for his strategic thinking, keen insight and a zest for helping professionals better navigate the complexities of Internet marketing.

When asked why he is so passionate about his work, without hesitation, Peter expressed his love for helping others succeed, and the fact that unlike any other form of advertising, Internet marketing results can be tracked, tested and continually improved. 

Peter has his Master’s Degree in Information Technology from American International University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University.


Matt McGowan

President, Adestra |

Matt has worked alongside executives representing some of the world's best known and hundreds of lesser known brands, agencies, and technology companies. Matt is President and a member of the Board of Directors at Adestra, the independent Forrester and Gartner recognized leader in marketing automation and email service provider software.

Prior to Adestra Matt was focused on adtech at Google, where he headed up strategy for the team that managed the Big 6 Holding Companies and Named Independent Advertising Agency relationships. Before that Matt served as Global VP of Marketing and then Managing Director at Incisive Media, a recognized global media, marketing services, and data company. Matt has also served in leadership roles at Charles Schwab, Headland Digital Media, Pearson plc company, and the direct-to-consumer retailer

With a strong background in corporate strategy, sales, and marketing, and deep executive relationships Matt is also an active adviser and board member to a variety of companies. Three of which have recently been sold: Reelio was acquired by FullScreen/Disney in May of 2018; was acquired by comScore in Sept 2015, and the Online Marketing Institute was acquired by in March 2015.

In 2013, Matt was named a Direct Marketing Association (DMA) & Marketing Edge “Rising Star” in New York. 

In 2004, Matt and his team won “Best Business Plan” at the International MootCorp competition at University of Texas, Austin. 

Matt has an MBA from the University of Oxford and a BA from Lafayette College.


Rebecca Murtagh

Founder / Chief Strategist, Karner Blue Marketing LLC |

Rebecca is a futurist, entrepreneur, author, and strategist with decades of experience working with Fortune 500, Silicon Valley, Main Street, multi-national consumer and technology brands on ground-breaking projects. Her passion is helping entrepreneurs and executives connect what they instinctively know with the latest data, science and emerging trends to build intellectual property and brand equity to improve the bottom line in preparation for investment, merger, acquisition, or exit strategy.


Kyle Olson

VP, Digital Marketing & Analytics, imagination. |

Kyle Olson is the VP, Digital Marketing & Analytics, Imagination, a leading content marketing agency based in Chicago. Kyle develops content strategies and amplifies high-quality content that has been featured on The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, USA Today, VentureBeat, Chicago Tribune, Yahoo, People Magazine, Billboard, and The Huffington Post among others. Kyle oversees the earned, paid and native programs for enterprise clients in the financial, retail, B2B and education industries.


Eli Schwartz

Director of Organic Products, 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.

Joel Spence

Chief Growth Officer, Twentysix Digital |

Joel is a UK growth leader, working with organisations to drive marketing results with digital, marketing, content and innovation programmes that mix data, insight, creativity and psychology with marketing technology and channel management to drive impact. Joel brings 12 years of experience across marketing, digital and technology paired with robust business experience and an MBA from the University of Leeds that specialised in Management Consulting and Innovation.


Patrick Stox

Technical SEO, IBM |

Patrick Stox is a technical SEO for IBM. He's an organizer for the Raleigh SEO Meetup (the most successful SEO Meetup in the US) and the Beer and SEO Meetup. He's an organizer for the Raleigh SEO Conference and runs a free practical SEO training course in Raleigh. He writes a monthly column for Search Engine Land and speaks at various search conferences. Patrick runs a Technical SEO Slack group with JR Oakes and Paul Shapiro and is a moderator for /r/TechSEO on Reddit.


Pinar Unsal

Founder, Kubix Digital |

Pinar Ünsal has spent more than 13 years within the Search Engine Marketing Industry. Her agency Kubix Digital is an award-winning search-focused Digital Marketing Agency based in Istanbul & Berlin. She has participated as a guest speaker & opinion leader at various universities, conferences & roundtables internationally. Besides this, she is a judge for the US Search Awards, the International Performance Marketing Awards and for the Interactive Marketing Awards.

Pınar started her career at bwin in Gibraltar managing a team of 18 international Client Account Managers. In early 2005 she joined Google’s European HQ Dublin, Ireland as Account Manager & Strategist for the German & Turkish Market. Before founding her own agency in 2007 Pınar was part of the ‘landing crew’ for setting up the Google Turkey office in Istanbul back in 2006.

Pinar Ünsal studied Business Administration und International Business at the University of Trier (Germany) and at MSSU (USA).

At the moment she is actively promoting her new project Women.Digital, a network from and for women working in the Digital Marketing Industry aiming to inspire, educate and connect the Digital leaders of today and tomorrow.



Marty Weinraub

Founder, Aimclear |

Marty is an entrepreneur, author, speaker & BWCA wilderness guide. He founded Aimclear, a driven marketing agency dominant in psychographic targeting, winner of 10 US Search Awards, including 2X Best Large Integrated Agency, Best Use Of Social In A Search Campaign.

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.

Rob Woods

SEO Consultant |

Rob is an SEO and online marketer with 18 years of experience. He spent 13 years in-house in both e-commerce and publishing, and has been an SEO consultant ( for 6 years. Rob currently consults with medium to large sites in e-commerce, travel, software, and publishing. He specializes in SEO technical site audits, strategy, and coaching. Rob has spoken at numerous marketing events including Pubcon, SMX Advanced, SEMPO Canada / Bing Search Summit, BlueGlassX, IIMA Fusion Conference, DMA Retail, ACCM (Annual Conference for Catalogs & Multi-Channel Merchants), Endeca Discover Conference, 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".

Taigh White

Director of Digital Marketing, Ultimate Software |

Taigh White is an expert in digital marketing with over 20 years of experience in all facets of marketing, with over 12 years purely digital. He has worked for such well-known brands as Ultimate Software, BankAtlantic, Stiles Corporation, and Walt Disney World Company, and is a past-President of the South Florida Interactive Marketing Association (SFIMA). Taigh has an MBA from Mississippi State University.