Interested in becoming a search engine evaluator?
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.
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What is a search engine evaluator?
The search engine evaluator 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.
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.
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 Vital, Useful, Relevant 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.
How much does a search engine evaluator job pay?
There is a very wide range here, starting from $12/hour to $15/hour and up.
This job will likely not yield a full-time income and should be more considered as a way to bring in side cash. Your work load will depend on the number of open jobs available and you will also be scored on how well you perform.
Like any job, better results on your part will yield a higher pay.
Here is a list of companies currently looking for search engine evaluators…
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
5. 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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The Bottom Line
Working as a search engine evaluator does have its pros and cons.
The pay is fairly decent for the type of work you’ll be doing. You can set your own schedule and work when needed, but there may not always be jobs available when you want to work.
I would suggest applying to all of the positions above to help maximize your chances of finding steady work.