Search engine marketing and search engine optimization of your website is a key element of building a successful brand and creating an online presence. Despite this, many people spend thousands of dollars creating a website, then skimp on the website marketing. It’s a shame, because search engines don’t read graphics, and photographs take up a huge amount of space with only a very tiny bit of information for the search engines. If your search engine marketing is floundering, you need a better plan.

We’ve put together a list of several common mistakes people make when developing a website marketing plan. As you develop your own search engine marketing strategy, keep these tips in mind:

Don’t Use Search Engine Optimization That Over Stuffs Your Website

Yes, you want to rank higher in search engines, but over stuffing your website with keywords usually backfires. Be judicious in how you seed your site with key words or phrases. If the content sounds awkward because you’ve shoved the phrase “widget repairs” 19 times into a 300 word page, you’ll suffer. Search engines now penalize sites that are splattered with the same phrases over and over. Even if your site manages to dodge the spiders, you’ll irritate website visitors who came looking for information, not a barrage of website marketing phrases.

Don’t Be Tempted To Use Black Hat Website Marketing

There are some less than savory ways to goose your website marketing, but you probably don’t want to go down that rabbit hole. Cloaking, which uses different content for the search engines than you can see on the page, is deceptive and won’t be tolerated by the big boys. In fact, any deceptive website marketing, including bait and switch search engine optimization, should be avoided. While you may pull in a few interested customers, most website visitors will resent being conned, and you don’t want your reputation to be one of dishonesty.

Don’t Over Accessorize Your Website

Website marketing is not only about getting visitors to your site, it’s about keeping them there and encouraging them to take positive action. If your website is cluttered with “extras” like flashing lights, glittering fonts, animated features, and pop-up windows, you’ll quickly lose a good segment of your visitors. Everyone else is just as busy as you are – they don’t want to be held hostage by a four minute video before they can take action. Neat, clean, uncluttered home pages are best. If you have a great video, by all means post it in an appropriate area where visitors can watch it if they want to, but don’t force it down everyone’s throat.

Don’t Neglect Your Search Engine Marketing Over Time

Most people hit the ground running when it comes to search engine marketing. They pour a lot of time, money, and effort into their website marketing for the first few months, but soon put it on the back burner. You can’t maintain the interest of potential customers if you don’t continue to add quality content on a regular basis. Good website marketing can send you to the top of the search engines; great website marketing will keep you there.

Fresh content is one of the most important features of successful website marketing. Adding SEO content every week, or more often if possible, will keep visitors coming back. Keep current on what’s going on in your industry and add topical content when appropriate, but be sure to also add content that has a long shelf life, such as “How To” guides.

Don’t Cast Your Net Too Wide In Your Website Marketing

Finding your company’s niche, then marketing to that niche is paramount to your website marketing’s success. You may be tempted to do search engine optimization for several general keywords, but everyone else is doing the same thing. Being too broad in your approach to search engine marketing is self-defeating. You probably can’t compete with the big guys on all fronts, but you can certainly find a niche within your industry and fill it. Focus on what makes your company unique and search engine optimize accordingly.

Your search engine marketing can drive impressive amounts of traffic to your website if you stay focused, keep your content fresh, and know how to use search engine optimization to your advantage. If you aren’t sure how to do this, hire someone who can. Investing in the right kind of website marketing is never a waste of money or time.