This year’s Search Engine Land Awards will mark the fourth consecutive year the SEO and SEM community has come together to celebrate the best and brightest in the industry. The 2018 event will be hosted in Seattle, Washington, on June 12 in conjunction with the SMX Advanced Conference, and it has been expanded to include several new award categories.
Started in 2015, the Search Engine Land Awards has not only recognized top-performing SEO and SEM professionals and agencies, it has raised thousands of dollars for a variety of nonprofits, including Be the Match, CODE.org, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Women Who Code.
As we near this year’s awards event, Search Engine Land is taking a look at last year’s winners in a collection of interviews highlighting the campaigns that won and the results they generated.
For our latest addition to the series, we talk to the teams that took home awards for Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative and Best Mobile Search Marketing Initiative for SEO; Best B2B SEM Initiative for Enterprise; Best Mobile Search Marketing Initiative for SEM; and Best Integration of Search into Cross-Channel Marketing Campaign.
Wolfgang Digital’s team took home two trophies from last year’s event, winning the Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative award for its work with Littlewoods Ireland, and Best Mobile Search Marketing Initiative in SEO for its work with Zurich Life.
“We felt we had a really strong entry for SEO for mobile as we’d figured out quite some time ago that a rich snippets strategy would become a voice search strategy,” says Wolfgang Digital CEO Alan Coleman. “We were confident we would be showing the judges something they had never seen before here, which I believe is a key component of winning awards.”
The CEO says his agency also does a lot of work for the retail sector, and winning the Best Overall Search Marketing Initiative award was a great affirmation of the team’s efforts.
“We demonstrated a strategy which solved the issue a lot of market leaders face — how does the market leader continue to find scale in a saturated market?”
Coleman believes solving a marketing problem or successfully executing an innovation is a key component of a successful digital marketing strategy.
“A great award entry is often a story of how you executed one of these,” says Coleman.
When asked how they determined which campaigns to submit, Wolfgang Digital’s CEO says their “magic” formula centers around showing the judges something they have never seen before. “And give a whopper result to boot,” he adds.
Because the team is in the habit of presenting their projects to their colleagues, Coleman says the bulk of the work for the submission process was already completed.
“It was just a case of making our internal case study fit the criteria for the awards.”
According to Coleman, being recognized as a Search Engine Land Award winner has positioned the Dublin-based digital marketing agency as a world leader in the SEO and SEM community.
“We’re very proud to be putting Ireland on the map as a center of digital marketing excellence by winning international awards,” says Coleman.
He notes that Littlewoods Ireland and Zurich Life have both been clients of Wolfgang Digital for some time now, and the long-term client-agency relationship has paid off. “It’s great to be able to demonstrate that partnering with clients over a longer period of time does lead to world-class digital marketing.”
For Metric Theory’s founder, Jeremy Brown, winning the Search Engine Land Award for the Best B2B SEM Initiative for Enterprise was an honor.
The agency turned to its team leaders for ideas around the best campaigns to submit, focusing on work that had driven either impressive growth for clients, implemented innovative strategies or tested new features. Once the campaigns were determined, the account managers — or in some cases team leaders — wrote first drafts to begin the submission process.
“Those were then edited by myself or other senior team members,” says Brown. “Each submission is a time investment, but worth it for the featured nomination or award.”
Brown not only is the founder of Metric Theory, he also serves as the agency’s CMO. He believes the key ingredient that helped push his company’s campaign into the winner’s circle is his team.
“They produce top-notch work that moves the needle for clients’ business.”
According to Brown, the Search Engine Land Award has given Metric Theory more exposure, and featuring the win on the agency’s website is a great feature for prospective clients to see.
“Metric Theory values the highly relevant industry news, articles and columns that Search Engine Land produces,” says Brown. “When the Landy’s were announced, we saw these awards as a great opportunity to feature the amazing work our team is doing for clients in a respected industry outlet.”
Precis Digital was another agency to earn multiple Search Engine Land Awards last year, winning the Best Mobile Search Marketing Initiative for SEM and the Best Integration of Search into Cross-Channel Marketing Campaign.
With offices in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and England, Precis Digital oversees numerous projects throughout the year, trying out new ways of optimizing clients’ investments across different paid media platforms. The agency’s Oskar Norbäck says submitting award entries is a way for his team to summarize the most successful work they have completed during the year and determine how it compares to the rest of the industry.
“Also, we want to contribute to inspiring other companies and agencies to do great work for themselves,” says Norbäck.
The agency’s winning campaigns were both with clients that have been with the agency for some time. Norbäck credits both wins to the team’s relentless focus on constant improvement and drive to be innovative.
“It is much harder to compete with oneself year after year than engaging in a new project and getting the initial boost from applying smart solutions to a low baseline,” says Norbäck.
He believes his agency won the Best Integration of Search into Cross-Channel Marketing Campaign award because it was able to demonstrate innovative and sophisticated tracking measures via a custom attribution and a real-time scoring model. This model, developed by Precis Digital, combined an audience-first strategy that mixed online and offline efforts and allowed for cross-channel bidding.
Norbäck says the key component of the winning campaign for the Best Mobile Search Marketing Initiative award was its profit maximization in automated bidding.
Precis Digital’s award application process is a companywide effort. “Each application gets as much attention as it needs until we are happy with it, which usually takes eight to 10 hours,” says Norbäck.
The time and effort put into the submission process pays off in the long run for the agency, as a winning entry benefits the company in two ways.
“The first is that the work we do gets noticed by new potential clients that would otherwise not have heard about us,” says Norbäck. “The other reason is that talented people in the industry notice what we do and get interested in working at Precis and help us become even better.”
There’s a third benefit to winning a Search Engine Land Award for Precis Digital, according to Norbäck — the awards serve as an acknowledgment that his team’s hard work is paying off.
“It triggers us to keep going and not settling with good enough.”
If you want to join the esteemed list of Search Engine Land Award winners, please submit your entry before the early entry deadline of March 31, 2018. Submissions will be accepted through the final deadline of April 13. The Search Engine Land Awards team has added several new categories this year, including Best Search & Social Media Marketing Initiative, Best Research Initiative by an Agency or Individual and Best Boutique Agency for SEO and SEM.
You can learn more about the upcoming awards event and how to submit your entry at 2018 Search Engine Land Awards.
Stay tuned to this column — next week we’ll feature Search Engine Land Award winners in the Best Enterprise SEM Initiative and Best Overall SEM Initiative for Small Business categories!