There are many factors that go into ensuring your website is going to achieve optimal results within search engines, and many of these factors have changed significantly over the last 12 months.
Firstly we don’t want to be doing anything that will upset the likes of Google and Yahoo, google are very very wise to most of the old black hat techniques that webmasters and developers used to use to try and get sites listed and ranked highly like keyword stuffing and hidden text etc, good solid rankings today is all about good quality content, but more than that you need to ensure that the content you work so hard on is also presented properly to the search engines.
Below are a number of key points we need to ensure are covered within our website in order that Google etc will read them correctly, and make the most of the information we give them.
A must for every website, an XML sitemap is a list of pages within your website that can be submitted, automatically via your .htaccess file or manually via Google Webmaster Tools etc, this file tells the search engines how to find the pages within your site and acts as an index so they can ensure all your content is read and digested by the search engine. Whilst your site will still rank and be listed without a sitemap, it will be read more easily and more quickly with one.
Resource Rendering CSS, JS & Images etc
It has been common practice in the past to discourage or block search engines from reading some resources within our websites for instance CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), JS (Java Scripts) and Images etc, the reason for this was that they added no value to the search engine spiders and the rendering of pages to the various search engines, in essence search engine spiders were nothing more than text readers, so why give them the rich content and waste bandwidth.
This all changed in 2014 with Google especially now reading and rendering full web pages, as such if you have not modified your robots.txt file to unblock those resources and allow access then your Google Webmaster Tools will be looking a-lot like this.