Search Engine Land Awards judges reveal what makes an application award-worthy
Since its inception in 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards have recognized exceptional marketers on an annual basis — showcasing outstanding work, providing well-earned exposure in coverage and interviews, and bestowing upon them the highest honor in search.
But the road between deciding to begin an application and winning the award can be a long one. Although the 2023 submission process is exceptionally streamlined — it’s never been faster or easier to apply — there’s still a story that has to be told.
The way you tell that story is entirely up to you… but why not bear in mind some first-hand advice from 2023 judges while you’re at it?
Keep reading for a roundup of fresh insights from some of our judges… and submit your entry before the September 1 deadline!
“Read the directions and reflect them in your answer. If it asks, ‘Tell us what KPIs were improved by doing X,’ ideally, your answer is, ‘By doing X, we increased organic traffic by Y%’.
“You’d be surprised how many entries don’t address the question directly and succinctly at the outset and then follow up with supporting points.”
– Holly Miller Anderson, Lead SEO Product Manager, Under Armour
“Include the strategy behind the tactics – what were the client objectives, and how did your work tie back to those objectives? Also, incorporating uncommon tactics that other search marketers might not think of will make your entry stand out.
“For example, using video and display campaigns to drive leads; or an innovative way to increase lead quality using Performance Max. Show us how you thought outside the box to achieve your goals!”
– Melissa Mackey, Director of Paid Search, Compound Growth Marketing
“Don’t just say ‘best practices’ for how something is managed – be specific. It’s the thoughts, creativity, problem-solving, and details of how you accomplished your results that matter.”
– Brad Geddes, Co-founder, Adalysis
“You really have to differentiate yourself. A lot of that, to me, is about showcasing your thinking. Really get into the diagnosis and then explicitly explain your strategy so that you can detail how it was innovative.
“Everyone can talk about keyword clustering, but what makes you stand out is in how you identified the problem and then uniquely used the tactic as a remedy! Context can really be everything.”
– Mordy Oberstein, Head of SEO Branding, Wix.com
“The biggest piece of advice I can give on writing a winning entry is to acknowledge that we judges are humans and respond well to entries that make it easy to read. Think bullet lists, screenshots, and specifically answering the part of the case study we’re asking you to address. A great way to sink an otherwise winning entry is to upload a deck that ignores the specific questions we ask because it’s your template case study.
“Bonus tip: Please submit the data we ask for. We won’t share it, and you’ll be throwing your entry fee away if you don’t tie your entry to data showing real performance results (not just percentage gains).
“We love celebrating amazing and innovative brands and hopefully this helps you avoid pitfalls in crafting your entry. Own your star power!”
– Navah Hopkins, Brand Evangelist, Optmyzr
“Ask yourself: ‘Does my submission highlight an issue or a goal and does my submission demonstrate and prove that we were able to reach said goal?’
“Yes, data can be impressive but the judges want to know what changes and innovations were implemented in order to drive performance.
“Be sure to review any guidelines provided to you! If the guidelines ask for something specific to be included in your submission and you fail to do so, that will work against you.”
– Brett Bodofsky, Sr. Paid Search Specialist, Tinuiti
There you have it! Remember: The final deadline to enter the 2023 Search Engine Land Awards is coming up fast… submit your entry by September 1 for your chance to take home the highest honor in search!
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