Every day, Google receives over 3.5 billion searches from all over the world. In fact, about 90% of online activities begin with a search engine search. Search engines work with advanced algorithms and crawlers but can still experience bugs every now and then, even if regular folk like us don’t really notice.
Search engines hire contractors as QA analysts because bots cannot detect such search errors on their own. Search engine evaluators are responsible for searching various terms (sometimes given by the company or sometimes based on your own search history) and judging the quality of results obtained. Other companies may also require you to check the format, relevance and quality of online ads.
Whatever the main task assigned, the search engine evaluator’s job of checking relevancy and usefulness of searches aim to improve user experience. The job requires the contractor to provide feedback with details about spam, accuracy, relevancy, and timeliness, among other factors.
Google is the main company that offers this kind of job. In some cases, Google hires third-party companies to perform search engine assessment. This job is seasonal, but since it is a work-at-home position, you can apply as a search engine evaluator whenever slots open up. Depending on the company hiring, this position may be called internet judge, internet assessor, ads quality rater or other variations.
How to become a Search Engine Evaluator
Anyone interested in this position must have a working desktop or laptop and stable high-speed internet connection. A college degree is preferred, but often not required. Requirements for this job may vary, but for local-based openings, the job may require you to speak the local language and familiar with local culture to be able to assess local search inquiries properly. This is often indicated in the job listing, so take note.
Some companies require you to take an exam or unpaid training before getting started. The perfect candidate for this job is someone who has exceptional research skills, a member of the top social media networks, and familiar with both foreign and local events and pop culture. For localized positions, you must be articulate with the required language. Of course, you should be very familiar with how search engines work, especially Google.
Do note that most companies only allow one job per IP address, so two people from the same household can’t apply to the same job. Once you pass the exam or training, you have to commit to at least 10 hours weekly until the project expires. For jobs that require you to use your own search history, you shouldn’t have privacy issues.
6 Companies with Search Engine Evaluator Positions
Google calls the internet assessors as “ads quality raters.” This position rarely opens (and it’s one of the company’s few work-at-home positions available), but if you’re lucky, you can apply for either an English-only or localized job. You’ll need to commit to 10-30 work hours weekly and sign a non-disclosure agreement.
As an ads quality rater, you have to provide feedback on image or text search results, web pages, and other information required. You can access specific tasks via the online tool Google provides. You need to mark texts or images as vital, useful, relevant, off-topic or spam based on the rating guidelines provided by Google.
Payment isn’t published, but those who have worked as an ads quality rater claims to receive $14 to $15 per hour paid weekly. To apply, search “ads quality rater” on Google’s career page.
Appen Butler Hill, known simply as Appen, is a NSW Australia-based company that’s heavily invested in crowdsourcing, search technology, social media engagement, and language technology. They offer localized positions for “web search evaluator” that require 4 to 5 hours weekday commitment.
The application period, which can take from 1 to 3 weeks, involve a three-step set of exams (search engine test, English test, technical skills test). Pay depends on where you live, but all are sent via PayPal. Africans and Asians are paid around AUD$7/hour, while US, UK and other countries are paid AUD$13 to $14/hour.
Leapforce is a California-based company known for not only hiring independent contractors as search engine evaluators, it also offers social media evaluator, internet analyst, and more. In mid-2017, one of Leapforce clients decided to work only with companies with actively employed search engine evaluators, which led Leapforce to create RaterLabs and hire agents as employees. You can apply to either RaterLabs or Leapforce if a slot opens up, but you’re not allowed to apply to both companies.
Both Leapforce and RaterLabs offer localized jobs, so there may be times when positions for a particular location may not be available. Both companies require agents to pass a three-part exam.
Workers from UK and other European countries earn $14/hour, while US, Canada & Americas-based workers earn $13.5/hour paid via direct deposit. Asians and Indians are paid lowest, at $7/hour via Western Union. All workers can get up to $2/hour raise after years of consistent work with the company.
Like Leapforce, one of Lionbridge’s clients is Google, which means you can expect search engine evaluator (or “web content assessor”) positions more regularly than other companies on this list. Lionbridge also has positions for internet judges, social media search consultants and online maps specialists. Do note you can’t work for both Lionbridge and Leapforce at the same time.
Based in Ballina Ireland, Lionbridge has openings for independent contractors from various countries. Pay rates are similar to Leapforce, with workers from the US and European countries earning around $14/hour and Asians, Africans and Indians with $7/hour.
Florida-based ZeroChaos hires search engine evaluators and ad quality raters on a work-from-home basis, but only US citizens are allowed into the program. The application process is easy and can be completed within a week, especially if you’re a degree-holder. However, openings are rare. Pay ranges from $14 to $15 paid via PayPal or direct deposit.
This Fortune 100, Washington-based company hires online ad evaluators and search engine evaluators from all over the world. Unlike Lionbridge and Leapforce that has maintained Google as a client for years, iSoftstone’s major client is Microsoft, so you’d have to be familiar with Bing and other Microsoft products. This also means that you can work for other companies on this list.
iSoftstone pays somewhere between $8 to $13, depending on where you live. Payment are sent via PayPal. Aside from passing a series of tests, you’ll also need to provide a link to your LinkedIn account before you begin.
The Bottom Line
Search engine evaluation is a modern work-at-home opportunity that’s here to stay. It can be a great way to earn money, especially since the offer is better than minimum wage in most countries. However, openings can be unpredictable; so you may need to join two or more companies.
Pay rates also doesn’t reflect the actual work hours you spend on the task at hand. Instead, your hourly rate depends on the hours a company expects you to finish the task, so it’s likely your final pay-per-hour could be less than the number of hours you’ve spent working.
If you’re efficient with your time and has the right skills for the job, being a search engine evaluator may be the career you’re looking for.