Class Merchandising and SEO

Put that final polish on those key elements of your class — class and lesson titles, class and project descriptions — so it can be discovered by the right students within our community.

In this article:

How SEO and Merchandising Work Together

“If you think of merchandising like a retail store where your Skillshare profile is the store and classes are your products, then elements such as a compelling cover image, clear class title, and well-written class description can make a huge difference in making sure students find and take your class.”
– Audrey Ra, Illustration Teacher

SEO, or search engine optimization, is a process of improving web-based content so that it ranks higher in search engines, such as Google or Skillshare’s catalog search. Merchandising is what Skillshare calls all the publicly visible elements of a class: your class title, lesson titles, cover image, project description, categories, and skill tags. In addition to class quality and student engagement, most of these merchandising elements have an impact on SEO, which in turn impacts how students discover your class through Skillshare’s catalog or search engines like Google.

In the scheme of things, merchandising is a small part of class production, but it has a tremendous impact on ensuring the right students find and take your class, and that the number of students taking your class continues to grow. So this article will present some guidelines for refining those merchandising elements within a class so the right students can discover it, as well as additional formatting considerations to ensure the class meets our Class Guidelines.

While this article primarily focuses on optimizing your class content for discovery in search results, you’ll also want to ensure you’re checking every component of your class for errors and typos. We highly recommend giving all of your written copy a thorough proofread before publishing. Running your written text through a spellchecker can also help — Grammarly’s free online tool is pretty robust.

Optimize Class and Lesson Titles

Your class and lesson titles should help both students and search engines understand exactly what your class is about. Follow these best practices to help make your titles SEO-friendly.

Ensure Your Class Title Includes Relevant Keywords

Brainstorm a list of keywords related to your class. Consider your class from some different angles, such as:

  • Topic (e.g., Hand Lettering)
  • Skills or techniques (e.g., digitizing, blending, animating)
  • Tools (e.g., Photoshop, Excel, DSLR camera)
  • Project (e.g., Watercolor Florals, HTML website)
  • Takeaways (e.g., Build Your Brand, Improve Productivity, Develop Your Style).

Once you have a few keywords to work with, the quickest and easiest way to pick your favorites is to type the beginning of your search term into Google and see what auto-populates. This will tell you the most popular searches people are conducting around your keyword category.

Then, craft your title around those one or two primary keywords. If the primary keyword can appear in the first few words of the title, great! But overall aim for an authentic, natural-sounding title. Don’t try to “keyword stuff” your title, i.e., adding extra keywords in hopes that it will make the title more SEO-friendly.

Ensure Lesson Titles Accurately Reflect Your Outline

Think of lesson titles as a table of contents for your class that will quickly orient students to what they are about to learn. Ideally, your lesson titles should make it possible for students to jump right to the lessons of your class that are relevant to them. Take a look at these classes on Skillshare to get a sense of the lesson title format and how they provide a clear outline of the class.

Avoid Wordiness

Class titles should stay between 30 and 70 characters to maximize readability and to ensure the full title of your class shows up in Google search results. Lesson titles should be 35 characters or fewer so they don’t get cut off in the video player queue.

Remove Numbers and Symbols

Skillshare automatically numbers class lessons, so there’s no need to add numbers or use generic labels or symbols such as “Video #1” to your titles.

Use Proper Capitalization

A title like “Color Theory for Designers” looks more polished than “Color theory for designers.” For all titles, capitalize the first and last words, as well as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Avoid all-uppercase or all-lowercase titles anywhere in your class.

Read It Aloud

Read your class title out loud, or better yet, ask a few of your friends or family members to do the same. Does it sound catchy? Make sure it rolls easily off the tongue.

Optimize Your Class Description

Here are some best practices for formatting your class description to ensure it stands out in search results.

Start With the Most Important Information

Put the essentials about your class right at the top of your description so it’s visible to students from the start. The first 2-3 sentences are also what is most likely to appear in Google searches and on social channels, so make those lines especially informative and engaging.

Optimize for SEO

For SEO purposes, your description should be at least 500 words in length and include your primary keywords. Ensure your keywords appear organically within the body of the text — don’t “keyword stuff” your class description or include keywords randomly or out of context.

Format Your Description for Readability

Make your description easy to read (and skim) by using bulleted or numbered lists, italicized or bold text, and hyperlinks when appropriate. Consider ways you can split up long paragraphs.

Add Visuals

While not necessary for SEO, adding some visuals to your class descriptions can make them more eye-catching to students browsing your class. You can drop in examples of the finished project or stills from one of your lessons.

While not relevant for SEO, it can’t hurt to include links to other relevant material in your class description to give visibility to what you offer as a teacher. Consider adding:

  • A link to your personal or business website, if you have one and it’s relevant to what you’re teaching on Skillshare.
  • Links to your other classes on Skillshare.
  • A link back to the primary category page associated with your class topic. For example: skillshare.com/browse/fine-art or skillshare.com/browse/photography.

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