So many elements drive a successful website from its launch — design, depth, organization and substance are key factors in determining whether a new site will fly or flop on day one. But while webmasters scramble to perfect every last detail of how a site looks and feels, many overlook the important aspect on on-page search engine optimization. The best looking pages mean nothing if they can't be found on the Web. Below, a few experts in the industry weigh in on simple tips to fully optimize any website.
Organize Navigational Links
Clean and simple site navigation isn't just for customer satisfaction. Search engines crawl a site's internal links to ensure everything is tightly wrapped together. Pages and links that lead to dead ends weaken a site's SEO value for desired keyword searches. Dewi Newasari, search marketing manager at Autotrader, said that if customers are happy navigating a site, crawlers will be too.
Newasari continues to emphasize the importance of an XML sitemap to help organize internal links. Providing this to Google Webmaster Tools helps give a website a head start when Google begins indexing pages.
Establish Google Authorship
If you're site doesn't have a blog, it should be a a top priority. Blogs are great for engaging with an audience, sharing industry expertise and also give strength in search engine results. Once you've written for your own blog as well as contribute to others, apply for authorship with Google. A headshot will appear next to articles in search results and Google will give more SEO value.
Write for your own blog at least once a week and make sure each post consists of a variety of topics following your industry. In other words, don't make every post an ad for your product. Search agency iAcquire blogs about subjects ranging from on-page SEO to content marketing, and those who follow the iAcquire Twitter stream get a look at interviews and other news. Write as much and as many different topics as possible.
Don't Force Keywords
Keyword stuffing is an on-page trend that died with Google's Panda and Penguin updates. Overdoing it on desired keywords and keyword phrases could do more harm than good to your site.
Matt Cutts, head of Webspam at Google, discusses "over-optimization" and what it could do to a website's search rankings. He says there's no deliberate punishment for overdoing it with keywords, but going overboard with on-page SEO makes sites look spammy and reduces search engine value. The fix? Put content first and let the value of your site drive SEO. A website that speaks to the audience and is full of substance will have a natural keyword density.