Is Elementor bad for SEO is a question I hear from a lot from clients. I would personally say that there are pros and cons to Elementor for SEO and for WordPress page builders in general.
Why not just use the default WordPress editor?
The code produced by the default WordPress editor can quite often be poor. A simple sequence of edits in the WYSIWYG editor can cause all kinds of syntax errors, luckily these are not visible in modern browsers. Even with the introduction of the Gutenberg editor, it is still quite restrictive in terms of functionality and page layouts.
The downsides of Elementor for SEO
Page builders offer WordPress users more of a Wix or Squarespace visual builder style of interface. The downside of this type of builder is that it creates more bloat and unnecessary code in the HTML portion of the site’s pages. Quite often themes and plugins are already doing this, so it’s just adding more weight to the website. It’s really a trade-off, ease of use over page speed and quality of page markup.
Organic rankings for search are very much dependent on your competitors, if you are competing against very fast sites with well-formatted code then you may struggle to climb the rankings. Even if your content is very good, it may lose out on other factors. If you are relying on mobile page speed or using markup like rich snippets to stand out then Elementor is not really the right choice.
One real downside of page builders is not inherently the fault of them, it is the human element. They make it incredibly easy to add rich media content to websites. But without an understanding of page speed optimisation you can easily end up with slow and unresponsive pages that will not rank well or be a nice experience for anyone using the website. So if you plan on using a page builder, make sure you do a bit of research on optimising images to the right size and format. This is particularly important for video, due to the larger file sizes.
The benefits of using Elementor or page builders
Page builders like Elementor, WP Bakery, and Divi Builder are great for allowing non-technical people to create great-looking pages with quite complex functionality like forms, animated graphics, and video embedding. They even allow the concept of global reusable elements like headers and footers as well as page templates.
For people who would otherwise not be adding extra content to their website if it weren’t for the convenience of Elementor, then it’s really just a no-brainer to use it. Having more content on the site, even if it is not formatted correctly is better than no content at all. I am guilty of occasionally using page builders when SEO is not the main focus and regular content is required.
Bounce rate plays a big part in SEO and there is no secret that dynamic and engaging pages keep people on your website for longer. Plus you can still use tools like Yoast SEO alongside page builders, although it is not fully integrated, you can still use all the guidance to make your posts and pages rank better.
So should I use Elementor?
Personally, I would say, if you are a business looking to competitively compete in organic search then you are better off having a more lightweight and flexible approach to the build of your pages.
But if you are on a tight budget and just want to make your content look nice with very little money and effort then Elementor is a good choice. One caveat I would say is that it is quite time-consuming to go back and rebuild pages in something else once they have been built in a specific page builder.
You are also stuck at the mercy of their support team if you can’t get things to work properly, often this can be due to bugs in the builder, meaning you have to wait for a plugin update to fix it.
But none of this means you can’t use Elementor at all, you could still use it for blog-type content and make your lead page content a little more bespoke and lightweight.
As a final statement, I would really say that for SEO you can’t get hung up on the technologies, you first need to focus on the core content you are creating and building effective strategies around it.
Valid points in the article. You’re running Divi theme though and you’re running 20 on mobile and 48 respectively in Google PageSpeed Insights… Does that mean Divi is also pretty bloated? It’s so hard looking for a lite theme… 🙁
It’s a pretty broad topic really. But yes Divi is quite bloated because it is giving you tons of features and you will likely only use a handful. You will struggle to find a lightweight theme, as that is kind of the opposite of what themes offer. The most lightweight themes are the WordPress official ones but once you stick a page builder plugin on to it, that goes out the window, which is a key part of what Elementor and Divi offer. If you have a little more technical ability then you are best using a bare bones theme and building on top of it. If you have designs in mind beforehand then you can do that but many people select themes purely based on what they look like. In terms of functionally, keeping plugins to a minimum will help in keeping a good page speed.
This site is very old, and there are plenty of things I could do to improve it if I had time. There are a lot of factors that would bring up that page speed score including better optimised content, faster hosting, less plugins, better caching and template tweaks. I have a ton of content on the homepage, so that reflects very badly in page speed tools, but you have to understand that the result seen there is for one page on the site you search, not an average.
Sorry that was a right old ramble but hopefully it helps.
Quite insightful, will keep this in mind while developing my next website.
What happens if we use Elementor to build specific pages only. Does that mean the bloat would only affect those particular pages or the whole website?
You can avoid the bloat on non-Elementor pages if you want it for only specific pages. But to achieve this you cannot use global sections like the header, footer, or popups etc. I hope that makes sense.
My Elementor websites score in the 90s for all categories in Lighthouse on Mobile and Desktop. It’s super lightweight if built correctly. When using those other builders I have not been able to achieve this.
Hi Mark, in light of the Core Web Vitals update from Google the Elementor team has been very proactive in getting some optimisation settings in place. These do make a difference and I have been meaning to document some of them but I don’t get a lot of time to update these articles and the main point is still entirely valid. Elementor can run faster and be more lightweight in that sense but the code underneath is still very bloated. I’m not trying to discredit or knock Elementor, I am simply saying it is not the best option if SEO is a key consideration when building a site.
Hi, I’m building my first page on WP. My main goal is SEO and great valuable content – but the design of non-interactive themes is so outdated. So I’m not a programmer but I really want great looking modern page. And some themes look really slick build with Elementor. So I’m in doubt to use it or not?
If you are set on using WordPress and don’t have a lot of dev skills then Elementor is certainly not a bad choice to get your site up and running easily. I think so long as you don’t go crazy with large images, video, and animation you should be ok. There are lots of aspects of SEO and Elementor has managed to add some new features that do help in some areas. There are also some good WordPress plugins out there that can help track and improve your search presence.
I design websites built with Elementor. It’s not because I am inexperienced, it’s because Elementor comes with some great features and widgets that enable me to reduce the number of plugins/bloat that I need. The number of plugins also reduce chances of conflicts on updates amongst other things like security. My average site loads in less than 1 second. With GTMetrix scores ranging on average between 98-100% and Google Lighthouse between 65-85. Any website designed without optimisation will be heavy and therefore slow, so this article is not quite correct. BTW I am not affiliated with Elementor in any way, I just like a great tool and Elementor is one and has been for some time.
I see you’re using Divi and the scores, need a little work too, sorry. I used to work with Divi and after using Elementor, it was a breath of fresh air. You wanna try giving it a spin. Optimise design, reduce Divs, optimised images and connect to Rank Math another great tool for SEO. 🙂
I think you may have misinterpreted what I am trying to get across here.
Page load is a factor in SEO and there are many ways to improve it regardless of what tools you use. Lightweight content combined with well optimised caching will always offer a favorable score. It’s worth remembering that GTMetrix and Lighthouse are only offering a page score for one page/URL. Another thing to consider is that GTMetrix will use the Canadian test location by default which will offer favorable results for US-based sites/servers, you can change this. I do use Quic CDN on this site but I use the free version and the quota runs out after about the 3rd day of the month, I am not too worried about it 🙂
This site is nearly 10 years old and was just quickly thrown together around building websites for clients. Elementor is fine and I have used it many times for simple projects with smaller budgets. But when it comes to building sites that you specifically want to rank for SEO under competitive search terms then it may not be the best choice. Having flexibility over your site structure directly in the templates offers a lot of advantages. Elementor has come a long way since it was created but there are always going to be limitations when working within it.