Format Site Builder Technical SEO Limitations

Unveiled Limitations of Format Site Builder for Technical SEO

Introduction

In the world of website creation, many people opt for Format Site Builder to craft their portfolio websites. However, like any tool, it has its limitations. This article explores the challenges users encounter when resolving technical SEO issues on their sites. It sheds light on problems that may persist in websites created with Format, examining both the tool’s reported limitations and the perspectives of the Format platform support team and our own stance.

Issue 1: Page Couldn't be Crawled

When utilizing Format Site Builder, an issue flagged by SEMrush may arise for the non-www domain, indicating that the page cannot be crawled. This issue is reported because the non-www domain is not resolving anywhere.

Page Couldn't be Crawled

What Support Says

In response to the SEMrush-reported issue of pages on non-www domains being unable to crawl, Format’s support team clarified that Format Sites are designed to operate through the www subdomain. While they provide an SSL certificate for https://www.example.com, technical limitations prevent offering one for the root domain. Despite potential crawling issues reported by tools like SEMrush for non-www domains, adhering to Format’s recommended www subdomain structure and updating external links accordingly can optimize site accessibility and align with industry standards.

What Support Says​

Our Perspective

Acknowledging the limitation highlighted by SEMrush, it’s crucial for users to follow Format’s recommended www subdomain structure during site setup and while internal linking on site. Despite potential crawling issues reported for non-www domains, adhering to this setup and updating external links can optimize site accessibility and align with industry standards. Embracing these best practices ensures a smoother experience and maintains a consistent online presence.

Issue 2: Uncached JavaScript and CSS Files

This issue, highlighted by the SEMrush site audit tool, occurs when CSS and JS files lack cache headers in their response headers.

Uncached JavaScript and CSS Files

What Support Says

Upon inquiring about the status of adding cache headers to CSS and JS files, the support team acknowledged that the JS file is not minified. However, they emphasized that this doesn’t substantially impact page performance. The file is compressed with gzip, reducing its size significantly. Additionally, files are cached on their CDN and delivered via http/2 or http/3, leading to a reduction in network connections and an overall acceleration of site loading.

Regarding future plans, the team mentioned a review of caching strategies for all user site files. However, there is no current planned timeline for this project. They assured the user that it is being considered for the future but couldn’t provide a specific timeline for the review.

The Uncached Javascript and CSS Files

Our Perspective

In light of the support team’s response, it’s crucial for users to understand the current optimizations in place. While the lack of cache headers in CSS and JS files might be flagged by audit tools like SEMrush, Format’s emphasis on file compression, CDN caching, and advanced delivery protocols helps mitigate the impact on page performance. Users should stay informed about future updates regarding caching strategies but also recognize the existing measures that contribute to a streamlined and efficient site experience.

Regarding future plans, the team mentioned a review of caching strategies for all user site files. However, there is no current planned timeline for this project. They assured the user that it is being considered for the future but couldn’t provide a specific timeline for the review.

Issue 3: Unminified JavaScript and CSS Files

This issue, identified by SEMrush, arises when CSS and JS files included in a page lack minification, containing extra spaces. Minifying these files by removing extra spacing is known to significantly improve page speed.

Unminified JavaScript and CSS Files

What Support Says

In response to the user’s concern about unminified JS files, Format’s support team acknowledged the issue but clarified that they do not provide coding support for all files. While users can use the Code Editor for certain modifications, it’s primarily intended for those comfortable with CSS and HTML. Importantly, not all files are available in the Code Editor—only a select few.

The team mentioned that the JS file, though unminified, does not substantially impact page performance. They highlighted the use of gzip compression, reducing the file size to a third of the original. Moreover, files are cached on their CDN and delivered via http/2 or http/3, leading to a significant reduction in network connections and an acceleration of the overall site load.

The Unminified JavaScript and CSS Files
unminified javaScript

Our Perspective

Recognizing the limitations in using the Code Editor for only a subset of files, users may find it challenging to minify every JS and CSS file individually. While the lack of minification may be flagged by SEMrush, it’s crucial to understand the constraints and complexities associated with manual code editing.

Users should leverage existing optimizations provided by Format, such as gzip compression, CDN caching, and advanced delivery protocols. While exploring ways to enhance page speed, users should carefully consider the trade-offs and complexities associated with manual minification and aim for a balanced approach to optimize site performance.

Issue 4: Low Text-HTML Ratio

This issue, identified by SEMrush, indicates that the low text-to-HTML ratio on the website is less than 10%.

What Support Says

Format’s support team acknowledged the limitation of the Code Editor, where only a few files can be edited. While reducing HTML code significantly might be challenging, they suggested addressing the issue by adding more text content to the website.

Low Text HTML Ratio

Our Perspective

Given the limited options to directly reduce HTML through the Code Editor, our recommendation is to focus on increasing the amount of textual content on the site. By adding more relevant and valuable text, users can improve the text-to-HTML ratio and address the issue reported by SEMrush. This approach not only aids in resolving the specific problem but also contributes to creating richer, more informative content for visitors.

Issue 5: Sitemap.xml not Indicated in robots.txt

This issue pertains to the absence of a reference to the sitemap.xml file in the robots.txt file and reported in warnings of SEMrush site audit tool.

Sitemap Xml not Indicated in Robots

What Support Says

The support team clarified that the robots.txt files cannot be edited and they said that this functionality is not available.

Sitemap xml

Our Perspective

Given the inability to edit the robots.txt file directly, we recommend an alternative approach. Users can submit the sitemap URL (usually https://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml) through the Google Search Console. This allows Google to recognize and crawl the provided sitemap URLs, aiding in effective indexing. While the direct addition to robots.txt might not be feasible, leveraging tools like the Google Search Console ensures that search engines are informed about the sitemap structure and can appropriately crawl and index the website.

Issue 6: Missing H1 Heading

This issue, reported by SEMrush, indicates that certain pages lack an H1 heading tag.

What Support Says

According to the support team, there isn’t a direct option to convert a heading from H2 to H1. However, they suggested adding an H1 tag by converting text to HTML.

Our Perspective

While there’s no direct option to convert an H2 to H1, users can ensure the presence of an H1 heading by incorporating HTML code in the body text. This not only addresses the SEO concern related to missing H1 tags but also allows for the addition of valuable content to the page.

Here are the steps to add H1 tag in Format Site Builder:

1. In the Format editor, remove the heading widget.

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2. Click on “Add Section” and choose the widget that includes both a Heading and text in the body.

Add Section

3. Convert the widget into HTML.

Convert Html Text
Convert Anyway

4.Insert the following code: “<h1>Your H1 Text Here</h1>”.

Insert Code

5. Save your changes.

This approach not only resolves the specific issue flagged by SEMrush but also enhances the SEO structure of the page by including a relevant H1 heading. Additionally, it provides an opportunity to enrich the content, contributing to a more informative and engaging user experience.

FAQs

While the Code Editor allows some edits, the team emphasizes existing optimizations, such as gzip compression and CDN caching.

Ensure your site is set up with the preferred www subdomain structure for seamless SSL integration. Update external links accordingly for optimized accessibility.

Although not all files are editable in the Code Editor, consider leveraging existing optimizations and focus on adding valuable content for a balanced approach.

No, there isn’t a direct option. However, you can ensure the presence of an H1 heading by incorporating HTML code in the body text for better SEO and content enrichment.

Submit your sitemap URL in Google Search Console (e.g., https://www.domain.com/sitemap.xml) to inform search engines for effective crawling and indexing.

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