In 2010, Don’t Panic’s founder and Managing Director, Nicky Wake, detected a gap in the market. The search industry was thriving and demonstrating business-changing innovations, but there wasn’t an award to recognise and celebrate the expertise, talent, and achievements of SEO, PPC, and content marketing agencies.

With the support of sector leaders, the most respected national search award was founded in Manchester, United Kingdom and has since come to dominate the search industry in every corner of the globe and is showing no signs of slowing down.

So, after 15 years and six global awards, how did the We Are Search Awards begin?

2010: UK Search Awards Launch

The UK Search Awards, now the biggest and most anticipated of the Search Awards series, launched in 2010 with a live event hosted in London. Since its launch, the UK Search Awards has hosted 14 live events and seen over 5,000 entries!

Now heading into its 15th year, the awards continue to go from strength to strength (while the venues get bigger and bigger) and we’re pretty sure they have another 15 years (and beyond) in them.

2012: European Search Awards Launch

Following the success of the UK Search Awards, the team decided to branch the series out into Europe. The European Search Awards launched in 2012 and have grown to become one of the most exciting marketing awards in Europe.

12 cities across the continent have already hosted the European Search Awards, with Lisbon being the most recent in 2023. This year, the awards will be heading to the historic city of Prague, Czech Republic for another year of celebrating search success.

2013: US Search Awards Launch

In 2013, we took the Search Awards series across the Atlantic to launch the US Search Awards and we’ve never looked back. Like any British enterprise (or pop band) breaking into the United States is a big deal, which makes the achievements of the US Search Awards all the more impressive.

Now entering their 12th year, the awards have experienced huge growth and recognition continues to develop across all 50 states. Having originally been hosted in Las Vegas, the awards graduated from Sin City to the Big Apple in 2023, and we think New York City definitely suits the growing prestigiousness of the US Search Awards.

2017: MENA Search Awards Launch

In 2017, we started to get the travel bug again, but instead of heading west, we took the Search Awards series east and landed in the Middle East and North Africa. As one of the fastest developing and most exciting territories in the world, taking the awards to the MENA region was a no-brainer.

And we haven’t been proven wrong! In the MENA Search Awards’ eight years of celebrating search successes, the awards have been hosted in Dubai’s most iconic venues, including the Madinat Jumeirah, and have become one of the brightest in the series with show no signs of slowing down.

2020: Awards Go Virtual

The Search Awards series were no stranger to the changes that the pandemic brought but like many businesses, the awards adapted and thrived. All four of the Search Awards went virtual as part of the ‘new normal’ but promptly returned from 2021 onwards.

2020: Global Search Awards Launch

2020 was a year of highs and lows but one huge high for the Search Awards was the launch of the Global Search Awards, the fifth award to join the series. The Global Search Awards were born with the aim of bringing We Are Search magic to every corner of the world, and in their five-year history, they’ve done a pretty good job!

Since 2020, the Global Search Awards have seen entries from over 30 countries (and counting) and over 1,970 entries in total. The huge success of the awards was solidified in 2023 when the awards ceremony was hosted live for the first time in Paris and were one of the biggest nights in Search Award history!

2021: APAC Search Awards Launch

Our goal of bringing the Search Awards to all four corners of the globe became closer to completion in 2021 when we launched the APAC Search Awards. The awards brought search recognition to the Asia and Pacific region and, like its predecessors, has already proven to be a huge success.

In 2024, after over 500 entries, the awards were hosted live in Melbourne, Australia. The event was one of the team’s biggest achievements, not only because of the jetlag but as a testament to how a small award launched in Manchester has grown to dominate the world’s search industry.

And the future? Watch this space…

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