The importance of "relevance" in our search results.
As a tutor, you pride yourself on your ability to work with different types of learners in a variety of subject areas. In fact, 70% of tutors listed on Wyzant offer lessons in multiple subjects. However, students aren’t immediately interested in your breadth of knowledge. All they want is a tutor who matches their specific needs as precisely as possible. Herein lies the paradox: how do you make yourself appeal to a wide array of students, many of whom are seeking something slightly different?
We’ve been working on creating better tutor/student connections for years, and we have long known about the importance of relevance. The “jack of all trades” problem was something we saw from day one, with tutors writing profile titles such as “Trained classical pianist also offering Photoshop, ESL and Spanish lessons.” Many tutors, we discovered, were in fact capable of tutoring an impressive variety of subjects. I’m sure there’s at least one Spanish-speaking, piano-playing Photoshop expert on Wyzant. But we also learned that students gravitate toward tutors who appear to be specialists, often skipping over more qualified or experienced tutors simply because they list too many disparate qualifications.
With the rise of online tutoring, students are now no longer limited by geography and can choose from tutors across the country. This is really exciting because it greatly improves the opportunity to create better tutor and student connections; having previously tutored for many years myself, I’ve seen first hand how powerful one-to-one learning can be, especially when there’s that perfect fit between the tutor and student. However, this increased selection with online tutoring also exacerbates the issues with relevance for tutors who want to offer multiple subjects. So what are some ways to enhance that relevance and help grow your business?
You may have noticed our many requests over the past few months for you to add subject specific titles and qualifications. With online tutoring, it’s now more critical than ever that you update this information in order to continue to rank highly and convert students.
Here’s why: while technically Wyzant offers 287 different subjects that you can submit lessons and write qualifications and titles for, in practice the number of skills and subject areas students are learning is nearly infinite. In fact, students search over 12,000 unique queries every month.
For example, here is a random list of 50 search queries students have performed on Wyzant. Bold font indicates a subject we officially offer through the platform:
The first immediate takeaway from the above list is that the majority of searches don’t perfectly match official Wyzant subjects. The other important thing to note is that the vast majority of the search queries are, however, related to official subjects. As you can see below, the search for “med surg” has seven subjects that are related to it:
The size of the circle indicates how strong our official subject relates to the search.
By adding rich, detailed subject descriptions and titles, you can speak to your specific areas of expertise within or related to each official subject. In doing so, you’ll naturally mention many of the keywords that people are searching for.
While tutors have been adding subject specific titles and qualifications over the last few months, our product and engineering team has been hard at work improving how the tutor search works on Wyzant in order to better highlight your relevant experience and information, even for queries that aren’t official Wyzant subjects.
Internally, we refer to this as our “relevant data engine.” This technology looks at all of your content including subject qualifications, titles, and profile description. It then identifies the most relevant content based on the search query and pulls it into the search results while highlighting the matching keywords. Tutors with more relevant content will additionally benefit from a boost in overall search rank, increasing the likelihood that high ranking tutors will not only look relevant, but will be those most able to address a student’s specific need.
Assuming you have created multiple subject specific titles, our relevant data engine will also select the profile title that we show in the search results to better match the search query. If we go back to the previous example of “Trained classical pianist also offering Photoshop, ESL and Spanish lessons,” this tutor can now create multiple profile titles - ideally one for each subject - and thus avoid that “jack of all trades” problem.
Some tutors, like Norma B. below, are already taking advantage of our relevant data engine. Here are some examples of Norma’s profile, with titles and qualifications specific to the subject being searched:
Every week there are new skills popping up that people want to learn. This is especially true for technical skills, which are growing quickly in demand. Collectively, tutors using Wyzant can teach darn near anything. The breadth, depth and power of the tutors on the Wyzant platform is seriously incredible. Yet, what good is that strength if we are unable to adequately surface your talents in the right way? Thanks to the new relevant data engine, students can now much more easily find the tutors who specialize in whatever they want to learn and tutors can stand out as specialists in multiple areas. It’s up to you to take advantage of it to grow your business, so add your subject specific titles and qualifications today.