How I Get Paid $12 Per Hour Analyzing Search Engines

I’ll make about $700 this month for evaluating Google’s search engine, or Yahoo!’s or even Bing’s.

What am I doing? Let me explain…

Search engines use complicated algorithms to determine the results you see. For example, if I type “Micky Mouse costume” into a Google search box a half-million possibly-relevant web pages will be narrowed down using various criteria until a second later I find the costume I am looking for.

But the search engines don’t always get it right…

They are full of errors, so they need real humans to look at the results and judge them for quality, efficiency, and usefulness.

Analyzing Search Engines


How it works: The job is called “search engine evaluator.” When I was hired I signed a non-disclosure agreement that limits what I can reveal about the specifics of the work and pay. But you can search that most companies pay workers in these positions between $12 and $15 per hour.

I’m hired as an independent contractor, not an employee. There are also qualifying tests to take. I’ve done several of them, and they aren’t too difficult, but they can take a couple hours. Some companies also interview by phone.

Without revealing too much I can reveal some of the good and the bad things workers in these positions have said about the work.

The Good

1. Working at home. The internet is full of false claims for stay-at-home jobs, but these are real positions that allow me to work in my pajamas if I so pleased. I love the 10-second commute from bedroom to office in the morning.

2. Work whenever I like. Some companies expect certain days, but usually I set my own hours and take days off whenever I want. I put in a couple hours when I feel like it and then get back to my writing.

3. Work how much I want. I generally have to work a minimum number of hours per month to stay enrolled, but it isn’t too much. Also, I can work for 10 minutes on a task, log out for a break and then work 20 minutes later. I like to put in at least an hour at a time.

4. Many search engine evaluators have said they like the pay. It’s certainly better than minimum wage, and I don’t have any commuting costs.

5. Learn a lot about the world. In the course of doing evaluations I am always discovering things that are new. Recently I learned about American Dingoes (wild dogs in the south) and how to create presentations for free online.

The Bad

Analyzing Search Engines

1. No job benefits. I am hired as an independent contractor, so no health insurance, vacation pay, or even unemployment coverage. And I can be fired for any reason.

2. Pay your own taxes. As an independent contractor I’ll be responsible for all taxes. I might have to make quarterly estimated tax payments, and file a Schedule C at tax time. I can also probably write off some computer-related supplies as business expenses, but I still need to keep track of everything.

3. Tracking hours. If I don’t keep close track of the hours I work I won’t be paid for them. I can log in online, but this is just used by the company to check against the hours I submit on the monthly invoice.

4. Paid only once each month. Some workers complain about the slow and infrequent pay. Typically I work for the month, then submit an invoice, and then wait several weeks to get paid.

5. Hard on the eyes. This is my own complaint and not one I’ve heard from others. Staring at a computer screen can be tiring. I limit my sessions to no more than three hours to avoid the eye strain.

6. The work is irregular. Sometimes there will not be any work for me to do. At the moment there seems to be no shortage of tasks, but lack of work is a common complaint. This is not an ordinary job.

Where to Find These Jobs

Here are a few companies that hire search engine evaluators. Some of them also have other job offerings that allow working at home.

I recently read a post by a woman who has been very happy working for Leapforce, and she has had the position for four years.

Knowing what it means to be an independent contractor (tracking your hours, dealing with tax payments), there is no need to be paid weekly, and it is okay to have fewer hours some weeks and more others, this work can be a great way to make some money without leaving the house.