I have found that the best practice for optimizing your website for visitors and search engines is to do some live testing.
You could ask your friends or even your customers to go through your website and let you know their feedback. If you have been involved in the website designing process, you may find that it is pretty easy to navigate your site because you know every nook and corner. But you won’t be the end user, therefore the need for testing by a subset of your target customers will help tremendously.
You might be surprised with the outcome. What you considered an easy process might actually be complicated for many. Some might not even find the links that you want them to click; some may find that your website take ages to load. Not everyone has access to the fastest internet connectivity.
And then some technologies do not work the same way on all browsers.
That’s why, the best way is to ask someone to go to your website and perform the tasks that you want your potential customers to perform on your web site. It could be subscribing to your newsletter or purchase something or anything that you wish for a visitor to do, depending upon your objective.
You could be a silent spectator and watch the test team navigate your site or you could get their feedback after they are done testing your site. You can unfold small little things that are apparently small but applying them to your web site will increase the chances of visitors staying at your website longer, and performing tasks that you want them to perform.
In summary, testing will ensure that your website is ready for human visitors. It is important that you listen to and collect perspectives and observations from a sample of population.