A hot topic these days is the side hustle or side job. Many people are looking to make extra income and want a flexible job that fits in with their life. An interesting opportunity to make money that not many people know about yet is as a search engine evaluator.
I have been working as a search engine evaluator for several months in my spare time. Since my daughter was born two years ago, I had a few different thoughts about income and working.
These two ideas stood out the most for me.
One: I wanted to increase my income. I wanted to be able to save more money for our retirement, and make regular contributions towards our daughter’s education fund.
Two: I didn’t want to take more time away from my daughter. I already work part-time outside of the home, and I didn’t want to increase that before she is in school. Whatever side hustle I have, needs to fit into our life as it is right now.
So I started brainstorming side hustle ideas. There were many businesses that I was not interested in; they just didn’t fit with my values. A job where I could set my own hours for the most part was attractive to me. It was important that it be a casual job – no rigid set hours for each week.
I ended up coming across a posting for a position as a search engine evaluator. I had never heard of this job, but I was open to looking into absolutely everything, to see if it fit my criteria above. A search engine evaluator rates and improves search engine results for the top internet search engine companies. Different tasks a search engine evaluator could participate in include web search, video evaluation, maps, local, automation projects, and others.
The requirements were that you are a person who is analytical, excellent at web-based research, and internet savvy. The job listing also state that they look for someone with a broad range of interests who also has specific areas of expertise. Some companies require a university/college degree for this position, but not all do. High speed internet is a must and some companies require a smart phone as well.
There are several companies that offer search engine evaluator or rater jobs. These include:
- Appen (hires globally)
- Leapforce (which has been recently acquired by its competitor – Appen)
- Lionbridge (hires globally)
- ZeroChaos (employs people in the United States only)
- iSoftStone (hires globally)
- Google (one of the few work-from-home positions offered by them)
Some companies require that you take and pass a qualification exam before you are offered a position.
Many of these companies also hire for the position of Social Media Evaluator. This is similar to a search engine evaluator position, but works with the major social networks.
This sounded like the perfect opportunity for me to try. It fit in with my goal to make more money, while at the same time not taking me away from my daughter more than I already am for my part-time work.
I applied to one company and didn’t hear anything back for a few weeks. I had actually forgotten about it by the time I heard back. Since this was side hustle money, it was never the plan for it to replace my regular income. I was invited to take the evaluation exam. With respect to the qualifying exam, my best advice is to take it seriously. Some people don’t find it too difficult but these people are in the minority. The majority of people who are offered to take the exam do not pass it on the first try. I dedicated a whole weekend to reading the provided material, and taking the exams (there are three parts to the exam). Even though I did pass, I would not say I found it easy. If you are interested in this position, study like you mean it.
After being offered a position, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. I mention that here because I am not allowed to disclose any confidential information including specific tasks and pay rate. I can relate some general information about the position.
There are positive and negative aspects to most jobs and a search engine evaluator position is no exception. For me personally, the pros absolutely outweigh the cons, but I include both lists so you can make up your own mind.
Search engine evaluator job pros:
- Flexible schedule – You can make your own hours. Some evaluators work five hours a week, some work twenty five. You aren’t required to log on at specific times. This is why I can coincide this job with my toddler’s nap time.
- Work from home – There is no commute to this job. Most jobs have the added time it takes to get to work, as well as transportation costs, which decrease the wage they are actually receiving per hour. With these positions, you can work in the comfort of your own home, trading rush hour traffic for working on your couch in your pajamas.
- Interesting work – You are getting paid to research/learn about different things.
- Pay – The wages for these positions vary, but are roughly $13-$15 per hour (USD).
Search engine evaluator job cons:
- No benefits – You are hired as an independent contractor. This means you don’t receive any benefits or perks from the company. You are expected to provide your own computer, high speed internet connection, and sometimes a smart phone.
- Frequency of pay – Most companies pay via direct deposit once a month. You have at submit your invoice to them each month so make sure you keep excellent records of time worked. If you need to be paid more frequently than once a month this might not be the job for you.
- Responsible for your own taxes – Since you are an independent contractor the company won’t take taxes off your pay automatically. You are responsible for paying all your own taxes which again means you need to be very organized. A plus of being an independent contractor who works from home is that you should be able to write off some of your home office expenses.
- Irregular work – A common issue with evaluators is that the workload is inconsistent from week to week. I found this to be the case myself. Some weeks I was able to work as much as I wanted (within the self-imposed limits of naptime!), other weeks there were no tasks available. If you need steady, regular income, this is likely not for you.
Since working as a search engine evaluator I love that I can completely work around my daughter’s schedule. My main issue with this job would be that there are some weeks where there is very little work available. This is a minor concern for me because this is a side hustle, and not my regular income.
A search engine evaluator job might be a great side hustle for you too if you want a flexible work-from-home job that doesn’t involve selling anything.