How would you like to surf the Web all day from home and get paid for doing so? Does this offer sound too good to be true?

It’s understandable that you’re skeptical. However, it is in fact possible to do just this kind of work if you become a search engine evaluator.

What is a search engine evaluator?

To better understand what a search engine evaluator does, it may be useful to first watch this video where Matt Cutts explains the process of online search querying: How Search Works. There is also this more in-depth explanation of how a search engine evaluator, or rater, fits into Google’s search algorithm changes.

The search engine evaluator (or Internet assessor) is someone who works with a search engine like Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. to test and evaluate its search algorithm. Why would a search algorithm require testing and evaluation? Because any algorithm, no matter how brilliantly designed and calculated, must in the end be used by humans. And humans may not judge the results generated by a search engine as completely relevant to their natural language query, no matter how much the calculations predict they should be.

That’s where the search engine evaluator comes in. He or she might be assigned a given keyword, asked to perform a search query on that keyword, and then instructed to click on and score all the search results that come up. To use Google’s scoring system as an example, the search engine evaluator might score each search result with the grade of VitalUsefulRelevant and Off-Topic or Useless. 

Based on the grades submitted by the evaluator, the search engine company then tweaks its search algorithm and requests that another evaluation be performed using the same keyword. Depending on the search result scoring, one algorithm tweak will be chosen over the other.

Alternately, the engine might ask for evaluators to assess the quality of its ad, image or social media results.

Because most search engines require hundreds if not thousands of search engine evaluators, they use the services of third party agencies. These agencies then take on the responsibilities of directly hiring and paying the search engine evaluators. In most cases, search engine evaluators never deal with the search engine directly, working only with the third party agency.

Listed below are individual third party agencies that are currently hiring work-at-home search engine evaluators:

SwagBucks: They pay you to use their search engine. Quick, easy, free to join. One of the best. Free $5.00 offer just for signing up. It’s a great way to pull in a extra cash.

Appen Butler Hill: This company offers many web search evaluator positions, both in the U.S. and abroad. The pay rate is about $14/hour. Reviews of the company are mixed, however; some current and former evaluators say that working with company is just fine, while others complain about a lack of communication from management and unclear evaluation directions. Training time is also noted to be quite long (~15 hours) and is not compensated (thank you, Vanessa!). Once contracted, you can work up to 20 hours/week.

iSoftStone: This rather large, publicly-traded company also hires work-at-home contractors to perform search engine evaluation. However, because this company contracts with only a few outside and local companies, the actual number of search engine evaluator positions is limited. Pay is $12/hour, which is a bit under the norm when compared with other agencies. However, it does appear that this company’s job and training requirements aren’t as rigorous either.

Leapforce: This agency is looking for work-at-home agents living in the U.S. and abroad who can commit to completing a set number of tasks each month regarding search engine evaluation. Additionally, the agency needs bilingual individuals who can perform search queries in Chinese, Korean, Persian, Spanish and Turkish. While the site does not disclose its hourly pay rate, Glassdoor does; agents make about $13.50/hour. A three-part qualification exam, which tests your theoretical and practical understanding of search engines, must be taken and passed before you can work for this agency.

Lionbridge: This large and publicly-traded company has its fingers in several global marketing initiatives, including search engine evaluation. Given its user reviews, the company offers a range of different work tasks to its contractors and pays about $13.50/hour. Contractors can work up to 20 hours/week. There is also a significant amount of opportunity available for contractors who live abroad (for example, you can be an Internet Assessor in Croatia). However, there is some grumbling about the amount of unpaid training time required to get up-to-speed on tasks.

ZeroChaos (formerly WorkforceLogic): Google openly mentions that it works with ZeroChaos on its jobs site; this very large company hires English (native) and bilingual contractors living in the U.S. only. The pay can be as high as $15/hour and you might even get away with working up to 30 hours per week (with no added health benefits, however). Because you are hired on as a temporary contractor, you may need to reapply for your position at the end of every full year.

Additional details about these third party agencies and their work requirements may be found by reading Anna’s search engine evaluation reviews, which are posted at her blog Real Ways to Earn Money Online.

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Last Updated: December 10, 2015

Join the Discussion

  • Halina Zakowicz
    Halina ZakowiczAuthor

    Hi Roger,
    These sites pays with money. I’ve not seen a site that pays with gift cards or points…though that could always happen. Thanks for your comment!

  • Roger Resendiz
    Roger Resendiz

    I have a question, do you get paid with money or with points to redeem for gift cards or something like that?

  • Daphne

    Hi, just let you know I’m now working for Appen Butler Hill as a contractor (Social Media Evaluator), once you get one of their post, you can apply for another one except the crowdsourcing. As a Social Media Evaluator, you are only allowed work for one hour everyday (5 days a week min. or 7 days max.)So, you are only allowed to work 5-7 hours not 20 hours per week ( I wish they let me.) Thank you!

    • Bikki Gurung
      Bikki Gurung

      I work for them too, but they let me work for 4 hours a day and I have to work 5 days a week too.

  • Marilyn

    Watch out. These companies are infamous for tracking your time, then telling you that you took more minutes on a project that you should have and that you have to adjust your invoice–a lot – those individual projects add up, as well as keeping you on the hook for training seminars, all unpaid of course. And they can drop you at any time without notice, for whatever reason. They justify this by saying you’re an independent contractor, yet they’re tracking your time and you have to use their invoice forms and their training. And at least one of these companies used to require 20 hours a week. I hope they face the same thing Uber did. It’s not a traditional scam, but all the same you won’t be making what they say you’ll be making. And you may end up just wasting a lot of time.

    • George

      That’s not truth. I’ve been working for LB for over 3 years now, and they’ve onle reviewed my timesheet three times. You cannot expect a company to not keep a record of your timing, and your just have be honest on the time you input.

  • Halina Zakowicz
    Halina ZakowiczAuthor

    iSoftStone has a Contact Us page. I would also notify them on their Facebook page. I hope you hear from them soon!

  • Janette

    i need some more insight because i got invited to take the examination for 2 companies (iSoftStone and Leapforce) i don’t particularly understand the training, it seems complicated and i want to know which one i should go for. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    • Justin

      Where did you apply for iSoftStone? I applied for several ones but never got any response. No rejection or processing, nothing.

  • Wellap

    Can you travel outside of your country of residence while working?

    • Marie

      I just asked that same question of Lionbridge. They said no because the toolbar may act differently. I think I may try it and if it doesn’t work try again with a VPN address from the US. I would like to be able to travel for a few months and still work.

  • Steph

    You can’t work for other companies when you are hired. They make this very clear when you apply.

    • Shawn

      My contract with one of the above mentioned companies actually states that they understand that you might work with other companies….but, you are required to meet the minimum hour requirements. This is for the year 2016-17

  • Halina Zakowicz
    Halina ZakowiczAuthor

    Thank you for this info! I will make the correction.

  • Vanessa

    The info above re: Appen is not completely accurate. They do not pay you to train. Initial training is ~ 15 hours and it is unpaid. Please correct this.

  • Halina Zakowicz
    Halina ZakowiczAuthor

    Hi Angela, I don’t see any reason why you’d have to remain exclusive with one company- each company probably retains its own unique clients. Hope that helps.

    • Angela

      It’s just that I heard Lionbridge didn’t like their independent contractors working for similar companies. I don’t know if this is still truth though. I was just wondering.

    • A Leap Forcer
      A Leap Forcer

      I am contracted with Leapforce and it is explicitly stated in the work contract that you must remain exclusive. I have a friend that works for Lionbridge and from our conversations it is clear that both companies have the same client. I do not know if that applies to the other companies though.

  • Angela

    Is it possible to work for other similar companies while working for Leapforce or iSoftStone? Is it allowed?

  • Cherry

    This helps a lot.Very clear. Thank you.

  • Tara

    Thank you very much for putting it together. It’s a great help.

  • Michael

    Wow, keep up the good work I really found this extremely helpful. Thank You

  • Andrea

    Thanks so much for this info! I will definitely be checking this out.

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