One of the most popular work-at-home jobs of the moment is becoming a search engine evaluator or web search evaluator. Many of my followers have told me how much they love this type of work, and some of the pitfalls and many others have asked me for more information.
Today, we are sitting down to discuss the nitty gritty details of this industry. We’ll explore the ups, downs and what it takes to succeed in this field. And, if that’s even a possibility.
What Does a Search Engine Evaluator Do?
If you have done any extensive research on the internet, you know Google doesn’t always get it right. Your job as a search engine evaluator is to analyze search results for relevancy and quality.
The need for this work arises as those results given to you after doing an internet search are determined by a computer and these fancy things called algorithms. What’s missing from algorithms is the human aspect. Robots aren’t too good at interpreting or predicting what you are looking for especially when it comes down to a string of unrelated words. Most of us aren’t typing actual questions into Google after all. We’re searching for things like “services to offer.” That can mean different things to different people. Search engines have established those people are most likely looking for freelance service opportunities and has crafted their query results to reflect that.
While many of these companies starting out evaluating just search engine results, this industry has grown substantially. Agents are now evaluating ads displayed in search, on social media platforms and more. Some of these companies also have translation, transcription, crowdsourcing tasks and more.
If you can get your foot in the door with one of these companies and prove your worth, you may have a flexible and fun gig for years to come.
How Much Do Search Engine Evaluators Get Paid?
Many of these companies have several projects going at any given time. Each project typically has its own pay rate. While these companies usually require a non-disclosure agreement from contractors, many people have said the pay is more than minimum wage and many speculate it's in the range of $12 to $15 per hour.
As for the hours available, it can vary greatly. Some people may only be assigned to a project allowing for one hour of work per day while others may be holding a workload of 30 hours per week or more. I have been told you are able to set your availability within your profile or at the time of hiring. Making yourself more available may get you assigned to more projects.
What's the Testing & Training Like?
Sadly, this seems to be where a lot of could-be search evaluators just quit. There are a lot of guidelines to follow. There are several testing stages to get through. It isn't easy. But it isn't forever!
Folks, I can't stress this enough. The work-at-home world is highly competitive. If you aren't willing to put in the work someone out there is. If you want to earn money online that's more than minimum wage – or $3 per hour – you are going to have to get into a job other than taking surveys, being a mTurker, doing penny-per-hour data entry. If you don't want to do anything more strenuous than clicking “yes” or “no” then don't complain about the low pay. There are good-paying gigs out there, but they are going to take some brainpower.
Now, contractors have told me that once they learn the guidelines, this gig is a piece of cake. I've spoken to a few that have been with a company for several years. It's flexible work. It pays well. It may be a little repetitive, but it's easy. There's a little sacrifice upfront with anything good in life. Get over the everything-has-to-be-easy mentality if you want to succeed and stay home long-term.
How Quickly Will I Get Hired?
It depends. Sometimes the need is large and immediate. Other times, not so much. I've seen people say they are hired within days. I've seen people say it was a few months before they heard back. That's not so unusual in the work-at-home world.
I remember when I started working from home in 2007, there was a job I wanted to get into so bad. I took the test and was put on a waitlist for over a year. When I finally got called up, you can bet I worked my butt off. I was one of the few people that had a contract year-round. I worked that gig up until a year or two ago when the pay could no longer compete with what I was generating with my blog. It was still hard to let it go because I enjoyed the work. Moral of the story: good things come to those who wait. Put your all into that test.
Is This a Good Work-at-Home Job?
Many members of my community really enjoy this type of work. The schedule is usually pretty flexible. It’s non-phone work. The pay is pretty decent for not being on the phone.
You also don’t need any special equipment or training. Many openings require just a Windows-based personal computer and high-speed internet. There are even some projects that require just a smartphone.
On the flip side of that coin, the work can be somewhat limited and/or project-based. That means your hours may be limited. There’s also a good chance the project will eventually end and you may have a waiting period between projects. It’s also common in this industry to have a contract end date. If your work was up to company standards, you are usually asked to sign a new contract. If you didn't meet the minimums, you probably won't be asked back.
You should also be aware that while this can be a great gig, most companies have a non-compete clause in their contract. That means you can’t work for more than one of these companies at a time. Not only can they find out if you are trying to pull a fast one because they may use the same software, Appen has also bought up several of these companies – RaterLabs and Leapforce to name two. They may have different names, but it's the same parent company. They'll have your information on file. Don't risk it!
You will be an independent contractor in these positions. That means there is no guarantee of work or available hours. It also means you will be responsible for your own taxes. However, it also means a lot more freedom in determining your schedule and workload. Most companies allow you to work just a few hours per week or carry a more steady part-time schedule of 20-25 or even 30 hours week when a project is in full swing.
Who Hires Search Engine Evaluators?
There are a handful of companies that contract at-home workers to check search results. It’s imperative that you read through the job description fully as most companies do have a non-compete as mentioned above. Don’t blow your opportunity at future work by neglecting to follow the rules. I want your work-at-home success to last a lifetime, not be a flash in the pan before you have to go begging for your old 9-to-5 back.
Appen Butler Hill
Appen is a great company offering remote positions in several capacities including search relevance evaluation. The typical evaluator position at Appen requires a work commitment of four hours per day five days per week, usually Monday through Friday. There is usually a lot of flexibility in the times available.
You will need a Windows PC, high-speed internet and be comfortable with installing software and troubleshooting. You will need to go through some unpaid training and testing which can take one to three weeks. It’s nothing too time-consuming or crazy, but some have described it as tedious. I wouldn’t let that stop you.
Many people confuse Lionbridge for Leapforce and vice versa. They are two really different companies, however. Lionbridge doesn’t always have plentiful work-at-home jobs available. I didn't see any listings on the site when I checked this morning (June 20, 2018). When I checked FlexJobs, I saw job listings as recent as May 30.
Like most of these companies, Lionbridge hires for a wide variety of evaluator and assessor positions.
This company does hire internationally. Many positions require not only a PC but also an Android-based smartphone. The current openings I viewed also required daily Gmail and social media use and a weekly hourly commitment/availability of 3 to 30 hours.
One of the biggest complaints on Glassdoor and something I’ve heard quite a few times with search engine evaluator jobs is that projects can end unexpectedly and without notice. As someone who has been working from home since 2007, it’s not too surprising. Unfortunately, it happens around here. Keep your basket full of good eggs and don’t rely too much on any one gig to pay your bills.
Now that you know the highs and lows of this industry, I’d recommend giving it a shot if you are looking for non-phone work and a flexible schedule. Plan for those downtimes and contract end dates. Make hay while the sun shines.