Is Search Engine Evaluation A Real Job?


If you are anything like millions of others, you might have found yourself falling easily into the “wormhole” of Internet browsing. You read something interesting, it stirs your curiosity so you follow it up with other searches, and soon, hours have passed! If that sounds like something you might like to get paid to do, you might find work as one of the many search engine evaluators

What Is a Search Engine Evaluator?

You might be saying, “Hold on there a minute! What is a search engine evaluator, and is that a real thing?”

First, search engine evaluatorsare used by all of the big names in search engines, including the world famous Google. What they do varies based on the engine they are working for, but generally (as one expert learned) “A search engine evaluator (or Internet assessor) is someone who works with a search …to test and evaluate its search algorithm.”

The algorithm is what generates search engine results. It is a very complex equation that uses a lot of different data points to create results. It takes a lot of input and assessment to be sure that the SERPs (search engine results pages) are giving the kind of authoritative and valuable outcomes required.

The search engine evaluatorsare the human components to the creation of the algorithms. After all, computers can only do so much and as they are being used by actual human beings, it makes sense that it is humans who do the testing. Thus, search engine evaluation a real job, and a really important one.

They are often given a keyword or phrase, and then tasked with doing an in-depth query around that word. They must click on the different results and score them on their usefulness and relevance (or other factors). When search engine evaluatorsdo work for Google, they score with grades like “useless”, “off topic”, “vital”, “useful” and “relevant”, among others.

Based on the results of the work of search engine evaluators, the search engine algorithms may be adjusted or left as is. Of course, it is not just keyword searches that search engine evaluatorsperform. They might look for social media results, ads, images, news stories and more.

How Much Does the Work of a Search Engine Evaluator Pay?

As you might imagine, the search engines require thousands of people to fully assess their algorithms at any given time. Because of this, most actually work with third party firms that hire and pay the evaluators. Typically the search engine evaluators don’t actually work directly for a company like Bing or Google – though that is not always the case.

The good news is that, for the most part, whether the search engine evaluators are working for third party firms or the actual search engines, they are going to take a search engine evaluator salary of around $13 per hour, or more. NOTE: Most of the top firms ask their search engine evaluators to sign non-disclosure agreements, or NDAs, and that means they don’t often discuss what they make in terms of search engine evaluator pay.

Begin to Earn Income Doing Search Engine Evaluation

Though it would be great if you could just apply for a job and get hired right away, most of the firms ask you to first submit to some preliminary testing. They supply preparatory materials to ensure you understand what you are being tested on, and it really pays off if you dedicate a lot of time studying whatever they supply. Most let you refer back to the materials during testing, but it is best to be fully prepared.

Although most people who apply can easily get hired, it is important to remember that most of the firms do not promise a consistent amount of work or earnings. As an example, one week may find you employed at a full time level (or more). A week or so later, you may be given as few as five to ten hours of work. You are also not usually paid during training.

Each company is different, of course, but you usually find that they keep many of their search engine evaluators over the long term. The most reliable places to turn include:

  • Appen – If you want to work for them as one of their search engine evaluators, you must commit to at least four hours per week. Their schedule usually runs from Monday through Friday. They require you own a modern Windows PC, have a high speed Internet connection and undergo a few weeks of unpaid training.
  • ISoftStone– This company ranks as one of the most coveted of the companies doing search engine evaluation. They call it Online Rater work and it is usually focused on Bing rather than other engines. They require their team to use Internet Explorer and commit to ten or more hours per week.
  • Leapforce – This is one of the most well known names in the world of search engine evaluators and it is also noted for the extensiveness required in its evaluations. They pay monthly and focus mostly on Google products. If you have more than a single language, you might be at an advantage as they are eager to work with multi-lingual providers.
  • Lionbridge – This is a firm that really emphasizes bilingual workers and even calls specifically for them rather than English speaking workers. They also don’t have a lot of remote job options, but what they do offer is usually long term. You will need a PC and an Android smartphone when hired.
  • ZeroChaos – This is an emerging name in search engine evaluation as a real job, and though they make only a limited number of positions available, they pay at some of the highest rates noted. They also have no “non-compete” agreements, meaning you can take multiple search engine evaluator jobs with other firms. They do require a ten hour per week commitment and you can most often find their current opportunities on Indeed.

Of course, it is also a good idea to look for search engine evaluator jobs through the most popular crowdsourcing sites, like the Amazon Mechanical Turk site. Though it means a lot more hustling to find jobs, there are many single assignments for search engine evaluators to be found here.

How to Make Search Engine Evaluation a Real Job for You

Although search engine evaluation is a real job, and you have plenty of resources (above) to get yourself started, you won’t succeed if you go at it the wrong way. You need to understand the various pros and cons, and how to avoid the most common pitfalls associated with this sort of work.

To earn income doing search engine evaluation means you are task oriented, focused and not easily distracted. Remember that we opened this article talking about how easy it is to slip into an Internet wormhole and find yourself Googling any number of obscure or unusual topics. This is not something you get paid for when you want to make search engine evaluation a real job.

Instead, it is crucial that you follow instructions to the letter and see each task completed quickly and completely. After all, among the various “cons” of this work is that those who want to earn income doing search engine evaluation will also have to keep close track on their hours. For the most part, you login into the company, but it is up to you to track the time spent on each task and bill accordingly.

What are some other “cons” to consider if you are getting serious about search engine evaluation as a real job? They include:

  • You are an independent contractor – This means you have no paid vacations, no health benefits or other insurances, no coverage if you are unemployed, no guarantee of set hours or earnings and you can be let go at any time and for any reason. These are the harsh realities of any freelance job, but you really need to be clear on it if you have never worked independently before. You can join organizations like the Freelancers Union to purchase benefits and find support, though.

The pros to that? As an independent contractor, you have the flexibility to work the minimum number of hours, and do the work according to your schedule. You also can take the maximum number as needed. Working when you like and as much or as little as you wish is one of the major pros of a freelance lifestyle. Remember, too, that you can also work from anywhere. Going on that holiday to another country? Your work as a search engine evaluator can usually go right along with you. You might even think about life as a digital nomad, traveling to places where your money goes the farthest, and staying for weeks or months at a time to cut costs and sock away savings towards retirement.

  • You are not paid on a fixed basis – Some people who earn income doing search engine evaluation are paid once a month or on an infrequent basis. The way that it usually pans out is that you do the work according to the company’s preferences (i.e. by the week, month, contract, etc.), and then it is up to you to submit an invoice and wait for payment. Depending on the terms agreed upon, you may get paid upon receipt or wait an entire 30 day cycle for issuance of the check or electronic payment.

The pros to that? If you are an independent contractor, it can be nerve wracking to wonder where your next check is coming from. Once you get on a regular work routine with one or more of the search evaluation jobs, you can accurately forecast your income. If you create a budget (and as a freelancer you really need to do this), you can reasonably estimate when payments will arrive. Yes, there are delays, but once things get rolling, you may not feel the delays as strongly as you did before you got into a routine, and you might be a better budgeter for it!

  • You pay your own taxes – This is something that a lot of freelance and independent contractors struggle with. It really pays to get ahead of the curve here and get on a schedule of pre-paying taxes out of each check received. You can always make estimated tax payments and if you overpay you get the refund.

The pros in this? If you overpay, there is a refund, but if you under pay, you don’t take the full hit all at once. Likely, you will have estimated quite close to what you owe and will only have to come up with a smaller sum. Also, as an independent contractor, a lot of the expenses of doing business are able to be written off. For example, computer expenses, Internet connections and many other issues are deductible.

  • Computer work is not the best for your vision – This is true no matter what you do with a computer, tablet or phone. Taking a break every 30 minutes and looking at something else for 30 seconds is often a good way to overcome the trouble.

The pros to this issue? It is important to remember that working from home means you have a lot of other things to happily look at! Glance out the window for five minutes, go play with the cat or the dog for a few minutes, or look around the room for something to tidy up. Even do five minutes of stretching and you’ll spare your eyes most of the problems. Also keep in mind that you get to do work from home that does not involve the phone or other tasks!

So, can you earn income doing search engine evaluation? Absolutely! You can do it full or part time and earn as much as if you took similar work in an office. The best part is that you get to stay home, deduct many expenses as a freelance worker, and learn a lot of different things thanks to the fascinating research you’ll conduct each day at work.


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