If you’re a website owner who’s noticed your site’s standings in the Google SERPs have dropped in the last 48 hours, then you’ll likely already know who (or what) is to blame for it. Back on Tuesday, Google ran a data refresh for Panda which, according to the company’s predictions, affected around 1% of its total index pages. In the time since the update, several notable SEO news networks have reported on the issue and begun asking the community about the extent of the damage.

While the overall impact of the latest Panda activity is nowhere near as significant as it has been in the past, there are still going to be at least a few webmasters who’ll find themselves scowling at the new rankings. The fine folks at Google have gotten better at informing the public of what’s needed to correct low SERP standings, but most people still aren’t quite sure how to go about improving their online properties in their entirety.

Although optimizing a website to get better traffic is a lengthy and somewhat arduous process, there are some key rules that every site owner should be following at all times that can help get the job done. Certainly everyone is familiar with the idea of having original content, high keyword-to-page relevancy, and strong outbound links, but there are also those elements of a site that are more about design than execution that tend to go unnoticed. Before you go back and start overhauling low ranking pages, consider whether you’re making good use of the site itself.

Am I Being Truly Unique?

Many business owners use their company’s website simply as a virtual storefront from which to sell products and services. While the ultimate goal of any online business page is to facilitate sales and make things more convenient for the customer, that doesn’t mean that’s all it can be. Those websites that see consistent traffic numbers and ever-increasing conversion rates are often those that offer something worthwhile and immediate to the user.

Of course, many readers would ask about how they would accomplish this. Well, as any successful SEM company would tell you, turning a lifeless site into a hub of network activity is as much as result of clever design as it is savvy SEO implementation. Many companies go about rejuvenating a stagnant domain by keeping a running blog of industry news, offering “flash sales” with limited durations on the primary landing page, and important contact information up front.

While these design choices don’t factor heavily into Google’s site crawls, they do create immediate engagement opportunities for site visitors and act as attention grabbers. This serves to boost SERP standings by naturally improving the value of the page for users.

For more information on how to go about creating a more engaging landing page, I can be contacted at jwersits@webimax.com.