In the world of digital marketing, it can be difficult to create a website that attracts audiences, compels them to click, offers them relevant value and puts them on the path to conversion. Of course, this is the end goal of most websites but reaching this goal requires walking a fine line and all aspects are rarely reached at the same time. In the quest to satisfy the search engines, it is almost an absolute that there will be missteps along the way which will cause your website to suffer. It can be difficult to navigate all the ins and outs of SEO while maintaining your website and running a business. Ultimately there will be mistakes. The key is minimizing your risk so that these mistakes won’t cripple your website or your business. Here are some common errors that are erroneously aimed at pleasing the search engines but will ultimately kill your website.

Forcing Long-Form Content

All the rave right now is about long-form content. Everywhere you look people and organizations are telling you that you need long-form content to rank in the SERPs. This isn’t exactly true. Do some research and make sure you have well-defined goals for your site and your business. Content of different lengths are suited for different goals. For instance, 300 to 450 words of content is sufficient if your goal is page views. If your goal is SEO or marketing, then 500 to 1,000 words is better. There is information out there on this, do some fact-checking. Forcing content that doesn’t add value to the context in order to be able to dub it “long-form” doesn’t fool the search engines and it frustrates the audience. This is an easily correctable error that will drag your website down in flames if it is not addressed.

Image Stuffing

Static images, infographics and video are great for adding value and credibility to your posts if you use them strategically. Again, if your post is stuffed with images or video that really aren’t relevant, then they are more of a nuisance. Furthermore, if there are so many images and video in your post that you can’t fit valuable content around them, then your post will be considered thin instead of authoritative. It will actually do the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish with the search engines. Use images and videos, use them a lot but use them strategically.

Too Many Links

Links are great for establishing authority and credibility in the eyes of the search-bots. Links pointing in and links pointing out let the search engines know that you have researched the information you are posting and helps establish your site’s position within the industry. However, this is another instance where quality overrules quantity. It is better to have three really strong links pointing to your site from great websites than 15 so-so links from questionable websites. The search-bots analyze all this information and take it into account. Don’t saturate your site with links to and from every place you can get them. It is off-putting to readers and visitors who are searching for information and it makes them feel like you are trying to sell something at every turn. Not only will it ultimately hurt your SEO, it will damage your credibility in the site of your audience. Use links strategically for best performance.

If you want to rank high in the SERPs, focus on providing relevant quality content to your audience. Yes, you should follow and SEO strategy, but don’t overdo it. It will have ramifications in the long run. Ultimately, focusing too heavily on SEO will cripple your website and send your audience running because they want to know deep down inside that your site is there for them, not the search-bots.