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Do WordPress Page Builders Hurt Your SEO?

TLDR: Content is king! As long as you're creating great content, we don't believe that using a Page Builder to create that content will hurt SEO performance. Here's why…

We often get asked if using a Page Builder can hurt your site's SEO performance. Recently, a very thorough discussion on this subject came up in the Advanced WordPress Facebook Group. While SEO is a very complex and speculative subject (we've found that rain dances help significantly with weather and SEO), using a page builder that generates lightweight and semantic markup should not have any negative affect on SEO.

Show me the markup!

Throughout the years, Page Builders have garnered a bit of a bad reputation for the quality of code they produce. There is good reason for this, too. Anyone that's ever viewed the source of a page built with Dreamweaver or FrontPage knows the behind-the-scenes horrors that can be found there. At the end of the day, search engines base their rankings on algorithms. For your content to rank highly for any keyword, a computer must be able to decipher your code/content and interpret what a given page is about.

While we don't know exactly how these algorithms function (this is, of course, the secret sauce that Google and others keep under tight lock and key), we have some pretty good ideas. Using lightweight semantic markup, proper heading structure, and appropriate inner linking between your content are a few of the biggies. Here at Beaver Builder, a significant amount of thought and development has gone into generating the least amount of markup possible, and we do our best to follow and implement as many SEO best practices as possible (such as using schema.org markup and HTML5).

What's the overhead?

Another important factor of SEO success, that can be hindered by a poor page builder, is page speed performance. Again, no one outside of Google really knows how much these factors play into rankings, but we know to some degree it does. Again, while we can't speak for other builders, at Beaver Builder page performance is one of our highest priorities. I won't bore you with all the nitty-gritty details but, along with lightweight markup, we are extremely careful about loading assets (like images, JS, font icons, etc) on your pages. If your page requires any of these elements, we'll load them up. Otherwise, we purposely leave them out. Only the essential scripts and assets are loaded for each page. We also combine and minify as much of the code that Beaver Builder outputs as possible.

Does it play well with others?

You might have been living under a rock (which is cool) if you've done any WordPress SEO work and you haven't heard of Joost De Valk's WordPress SEO Plugin. It is the de facto standard/must-have SEO plugin for WordPress. If your page builder doesn't play well with this (or other similar SEO plugins) you're not going to be doing as well in the SERPs as you could. One our favorite Beaver Builder features is if you ever disable Beaver Builder all of you text and image content automatically gets ported back into the WordPress editor. This also means you can easily toggle between Beaver Builder and the WordPress editor to “show” SEO plugins your content and then tune your titles and metas based on the feedback they provide! Not to toot our own horn, but this is a pretty big deal!

Backlinks are where it's at!

All of the things we've discussed so far are on-page improvements that one can make to improve SEO. We're leaving out a MAJOR piece of the puzzle: backlinks! More important than any on-page changes is getting other reputable websites to link to your pages. If there's an easy way to do this, please contact me privately and let me know :). The only way I know of is to take the time to create quality content. Take note of the keyword in that last sentence, time. Creating content takes time! A lot of it! Luckily, if you're curious about page builders, you either know (or are about to discover) that using a page builder saves tons of time (like, a whole lot)!  The faster you can churn out content, the more likely you are to catch the eye of another web publisher and have them link to your article. If you're in the SEO/publishing game, you can never have enough content and using a page builder is one of the fastest ways to streamline content creation.

So, we're cool then?

To recap, while there are crummy page builders out there that will generate tons of excess markup and slow down you pages, using a high-quality page builder (ahem, like Beaver Builder) shouldn't have any noticeable impact on your page load speeds. Nor will it generate HTML markup that search engines have trouble understanding. At the end of the day, good content will help you rank better and using a page builder will actually significantly decrease the amount of time it takes to create content. I am sure a similar conversation was had about WordPress itself back in the day: “Will WordPress hurt my SEO compared to creating a site in static HTML?” Well, we all know how that turned out.

Are we missing anything? How has your experience with Page Builders impacted your site's SEO?

Robby McCullough's Bio

26 Comments

  1. Olaf Lederer on February 2, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Robby,
    Thanks for sharing!
    I think a page builder isn’t a problem if the generated code is valid. I’ve seen a lot of unwanted (and empty) HTML nodes while using shortcodes and I hope your tool can filter them 🙂 About the performance, we all use a cache plugin right? Performance shouldn’t be an issue.

    • Robby McCullough on February 3, 2015 at 9:06 am

      Agreed, Olaf! I think we’re on the same page here. After finishing this article, I found an amazing presentation on SEO in 2015: http://vimeo.com/111523603. I wish I had seen it before because it brings up some amazing points of what modern SEO is about. In short, the 1997-2007 SEO tactics just aren’t going to work any more. Content really is king, and beyond that, quality content that answers the questions “searchers” are asking is paramount. There is a summary of the presentation in this article: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/rand-fishkin-content-seo/.

  2. Athlone on February 7, 2015 at 10:43 am

    I’m starting to love BeaverBuilder more and more… 🙂

  3. Benjamin on February 18, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    The problem 99% page builders have is with “embedding columns… in columns… in columns”, which is right now NOT supported by BeaverBuilder (and that’s a GOOD point).

    If you decide to implement the “drop columns in columns” you’ll end end with a terrible markup (markup goes almost exponentially everytime a column is dropped in another column).

    The SEO as long had been discussing the “code to text” being a factor as it makes pure sense : why on earth would you need 500 divs to render a page properly where as 50 would be more than enough ?

    Now I like BeaverBuilder, but if you implement the “columns in columns” like all other page builders do (as it’s a common “bad” user requirement) you’ll probably end up with this problem.

    It’s the same balance to find as you did with your Automator theme : either you do a “can do everything” theme with 50 colors pickers buttons and 200 controls for all fonts line heights etc… or you create a great lightweight solution which covers perfectly 95% of all use case with 1/10 of the controls…

    imho the market for “can do everything” themes and builders is quite full, whereas there is room for “high performance but can only do 95%” theme/builder.

    Hopefully you’ll continue to have the “95% and lightweight is better” philosophy 😉

    Cheers,

    • Robby McCullough on February 18, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Hey Benjamin! Thanks for the reply and the great feedback. I think we’re absolutely on the same page!

    • Max on March 15, 2015 at 1:18 pm

      Lovin the sound of this 🙂

      Lean & clean markup is essential

      Am considering trying on a network-of-networks instance… any thoughts?

      • Robby McCullough on March 15, 2015 at 3:19 pm

        Hey Max! Thanks for the comment. I am not sure if I understand what you mean by a network of networks? Would that be multiple multisite installs?

  4. reza on February 23, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    Thank you for great article , I have same issue with yoast and visual composer and i think in pages that i build with visual composer have lower rank from my post

  5. Adam Davies on February 24, 2016 at 5:20 am

    Does Beaver Builder use the standard WordPress wp_title() tag? I’m curious if I’ll have to make custom loops for some weird titles I’ve currently got.

    • Robby McCullough on February 24, 2016 at 9:45 am

      Hey Adam! In most cases, people will disable/remove the default WordPress title on Beaver Builder pages. The page builder only works on the_content area of your pages/post, so whatever your theme’s using to output the title won’t be affected.

      I believe we’re using it in our posts module, but I am not 100% sure without digging around a bit.

  6. John on September 10, 2016 at 2:11 am

    Let me tell you this.
    I’ve used Beaver plugin, the free version, to make a landing page for a webiste.
    The client decide that landing page to be set as main page.

    Couple days later that website go from nowhere on the firste page, second position, in Google for a specific keyword.

    So no, page builders dont affects your SEO as log as you know what and how to do the job. On the other hand, if the page builder put to much messy code in your html, than your SEO might get penalized.

    So, choose wise.

    • Robby McCullough on September 12, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Interesting! Did the content of the page the same?

  7. Vince on September 26, 2016 at 1:10 am

    I absolutely agree! One of SEO best practices to get the benefits in search results is schema markup, it really works and it is very important. Most of the new themes in WordPress are using schema.org. I don’t believe that using a Page Builder will impact SEO negatively.

  8. Vince on September 26, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    I absolutely agree!One of SEO best practices to get the benefits in search results is schema markup, it really works and it is very important. Most of the new themes in WordPress are using schema.org. I don’t believe that using a Page Builder will impact SEO negatively.

    • Hrushikesh Thorat on December 17, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      But, do builder used in individual posts affects SEO ?

  9. Hrushikesh Thorat on December 17, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    I use Visual composer page builder for all of my posts too. Does it affects my SEO ? Since I’m being observing my sites stats past 6 months I couldn’t find any observable changes in my traffic. I other way I find it to be reduce. Is this affect of Visual composer ?

    • Robby McCullough on December 18, 2016 at 11:39 am

      I think the theme of the articel—that the content matters more than the markup—still holds true. If you’re a fan of using VC, you should definitely give Beaver Builder a try! 🙂

  10. venkatweetz on January 14, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Awesome article. This article is clarified my doubts McCullough.

    Thanks for sharing

  11. Sam on February 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I use the lite version of Beaver Builder to create my WP website, and I love it. However the SEO plugin that I use, Yoast, seems to recognize 77 words out of 200+ words on one of the pages. Same applies to all other pages built with BB.
    Any advice? Thank you!

    • Robby McCullough on February 2, 2017 at 9:57 am

      Hey Sam. In the WordPress editor, you can try toggling between the page builder and the standard editor so the text is ported back where Yoast can analyze it. If this is a live site/page, you might want to duplicate the page so it doesn’t impact the front end of your site.

      • Sam on February 3, 2017 at 9:40 am

        Thank you Robby for your Reply. I actually found out the cause of and the solution to this issue: Before I was using multiple content “blocks” within other clocks, something that made some of the text and images invisible to thee standard WP editor. Thank you again and best wishes to you and your team !

  12. Fred on April 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    So content is still king then.

    • Robby McCullough on April 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      It definitely doesn’t hurt!

  13. Johnny on August 14, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    PageBuilders neither hurt, nor help your SEO. If you know SEO, pagebuilders won’t get in your way. The problem with pagebuilders is bloated code and likelihood of plugin conflicts. With that said, they’re useful for the user to help push their design around and see it live. Once you’ve gotten the look down perfect, time to hard code it into a custom theme. That’s best practice, IMO.

  14. Frederick on September 30, 2017 at 2:30 am

    Hi Robby

    Thanks for sharing!First I like beaver builder.I think most of wp page builder focus only on the fancy styling but neglect the code tidy and clean.Some are generating twice much heavy codes only adding one simple paragraph in a specially styling sections.

    Site speed is one problem,but I think the biggest problem is the messy coding.I think page builders no help SEO but only hinder it.

  15. طراحی سایت on February 10, 2018 at 12:53 am

    Thank you for nice article , I have same issue with yoast and visual composer and i think in pages that i build with visual composer have lower rank from my post

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