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 its 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 dependant 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.