When it comes to search engine optimization for your school, there's one timeless truth: search engines, like people, prioritize content that resonates with the human experience. Authenticity, personal stories, and genuine human connection form the backbone of impactful content.
While AI-generated content is changing how SEO works for both private schools and districts, there's a growing appreciation for content that is written by humans, for humans – content that truly resonates with the hopes, challenges, and aspirations of families.
ChatGPT just celebrated its first birthday, and while artificial intelligence is in everyone’s mouth, Merriam-Webster’s word of the year is “authentic.” That's meaningful...
What makes content truly engaging isn’t just keywords and SEO strategies; it's about understanding and tapping into the real needs, desires, and emotions of your school’s audience.
When your school’s content aligns with the genuine interests and experiences of your users, the result is more effective and more meaningful. Human-centric content and user experiences are the key to captivating and connecting with your school's audience in a way that algorithms simply can’t replicate — and means "E.E.A.T." -ing your content.
What does that actually mean? More on that in a second…
The Importance of Authenticity Amid AI-Generated Content
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has changed content marketing for schools. Sure, the technology can analyze data and produce content at an unprecedented pace, and in a school setting, that means crafting newsletters, social media posts, and blog articles faster than ever.
While AI offers efficiency and consistency, it also poses challenges, particularly in capturing the unique voice of your school. Despite AI's advancements, the heart of your content must remain genuine and personal — stories that reflect real experiences connect deeply with students, parents, and staff.
SEO for Schools: The Values of Google's E.E.A.T.
For years, Google has stressed the kind of content it prefers with the E.E.A.T. acronym, standing for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s vital in Google's eyes, and together, these factors determine how well your content ranks.
In late 2022, Google added the extra “E” for “experience,” driving home the importance of the author’s familiarity with the content, and this concept is at the core of what Google looks for when determining the quality and relevance of your school's content.
If you’re really interested in reading all the juicy details, Google has a 170+ page document explaining the reasoning behind its search quality evaluator guideline, but here’s the main gist of each component and why they’re valued by Google:
Experience in E.E.A.T. refers to the real-life experiences shared in your content. It's about showcasing how your school applies its mission in practical scenarios. Google values this because it provides users with content that's not just theoretical but proven in real-world settings.
Share stories of unique classroom projects, successful alumni, or innovative teaching methods. This enriches your content but also gives Google and its users a sense of the practical impact of your school's experiences.
Expertise is about demonstrating your school’s deep knowledge of education. Google pushes content created by or reflects the knowledge of individuals or schools that are experts in their field, which helps users receive accurate and reliable information.
So, highlight the background and accomplishments of your faculty, the rigor of your programs, and the achievements of your students. Articles or blog posts from school leaders that showcase scholarly research, thought leadership, or teaching methodologies are all great for supporting your school's expertise.
Many schools and districts leverage the power of their blogs to share the vision and mission of school administration and faculty. Dana Hall’s blog, The Roar, shares ideas like the benefits of studying abroad, while Burnsville-Eagan-Savage District 191’s The Wayfinder has news from across the district and updates from the superintendent.
Authoritativeness is about the recognition and respect you receive from others in your field and whether your site is viewed as an authority on subjects. Google uses this to gauge how much your school is respected and cited by users and peers, and a high level of authoritativeness increases your content's visibility in search results.
Gain authority by creating internal links, earning credible backlinks to your school's website, and earning positive reviews. Publish original content cited or shared by reputable educational institutions or professionals.
Building trust relates to the accuracy, transparency, and honesty of your content. Google emphasizes this to ensure users have access to content that’s not misleading or false. Trust is a cornerstone of Google's ranking system.
Be transparent about your school's success and challenges. Adopt a consistent and honest tone in all your communications. User reviews and quotes can also enhance trustworthiness.
What Does E.E.A.T. Mean for Google and Your School’s Content?
Quality Control: By emphasizing E.E.A.T., Google ensures that users are directed to content that is not only relevant but also high quality — rich in information, reliable, and useful. If Google provides high-quality content to its searchers, they’ll be more likely to return to Google again.
User Trust and Satisfaction: Content that meets E.E.A.T. criteria is more likely to satisfy users' needs, which creates trust in Google as a search engine and improves the overall user experience.
Fighting Misinformation: Bad information can have consequences, and E.E.A.T. helps to filter out sketchy sources, ensuring that the information is accurate and trustworthy.
Promoting Expert Voices: Google aims to promote content by sharing the insights of experts in education. It wants users to access the best possible advice, guidance, and knowledge.
For example, a quick Google search for “STEAM in Philly school,” and you’d find a result near the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for Germantown Academy’s STEAM program, featuring the school’s focus on STEAM experiences and learning throughout all its divisions.
Weaving E.E.A.T. into your school's content strategy and SEO efforts is about providing valuable, reliable, and impactful information to your community and the wider public.
AI vs. Human Touch in School Content
While AI can streamline content creation, a human touch is so important. Personal stories, emotional nuances, and a sense of community are elements that AI currently can’t replace. Use AI as a tool to support your creativity, not replace it. Optimizing your website while focusing on E.E.A.T. not only improves your ranking factor rankings but also strengthens the bond with your audience — especially prospective students and their families.
To effectively utilize AI in your strategy, remember:
- Use AI for preliminary drafts, outlining, or data analysis.
- Always mix AI-generated content with personal stories and school-specific details.
- Regularly review and update your content to align with E.E.A.T. principles.
AI in content creation is an exciting development, but it's the blend of technology and authenticity that will define the future of your school's content marketing. Stay curious and embrace innovation, but always base your content on the values and experiences unique to your school.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.