How Nulled Theme Kill Your SEO Efforts

What was the first thought that came into your mind when you read the word ‘nulled’? If you have been associated with WordPress themes or are a user, you know that Nulled themes are those which are hacked or broken versions of the original themes.

Unfortunately, what people don’t know is that these nulled themes aren’t just illegal, but can cause a lot of harm. These themes often contain malicious code inside which can seriously destroy your domain and its credibility.

The truth is that committing a crime online is easy and people often forget that there will be consequences to what they are doing. However, if you are smart enough, you won’t take the risk of using these nulled themes because they won’t just have an impact on your business, but can also lead you to paying a hefty amount. Today, we are going to tell you about how a nulled theme can harm or even kill the SEO techniques you spend so much time building.

What’s the Connection?

Search Engine Optimization or SEO as it is better known, is an art. Throughout the years, SEO has evolved into something which is essential for every website, because without it, your online address won’t be recognized. However, this very crucial aspect of the internet is also very complex. Several components like content, theme and design of your website can either grow, or kill your SEO efforts. Today, search engines like Google have come up with such sophisticated algorithms or ‘spiders’ for SEO that it is often hard to escape their watchful eyes. The theme you use for your website will have SEO running at the back and what do you think will happen if you use these SEO techniques on a theme which is full of malware?

This is why, it is exceptionally important that you focus on a proper theme when you want your website and SEO to be successful. Unfortunately, if you rely on nulled themes, you’ll never be able to get your website the recognition it deserves because it won’t even get a chance to make its impact on the market and your audience before it is shut down. Remember, if you make the mistake of choosing a nulled theme simply because you wanted to save some dollars, you will end up with a business that no one trusts and fail hopelessly.

So, although it may not look like there’s a connection between your SEO and theme, experienced analysts will know that there is in fact a lot in common and one effects the other in more than one way.

If you won’t take our word for it and need further persuading, read on because we are about to tell you about all the reasons why you should stay away from nulled themes and how it will affect your SEO if you don’t. So, without further delay, let’s dive into why depending on a nulled theme may not be the best thing for your website and business.

Nulled Themes Bring in Malicious Code

Think about it, why would someone give you a free theme, unless there was something in it for them as well. One of the reasons why people trust original themes is because they are kept up-to-date and don’t include malicious code of any kind. However, make the mistake of opting for a nulled theme and you may just end up getting your site hacked. And if your website gets hacked, it won’t just be an inconvenience, but will end up costing you a lot of hard earned money. The malicious code that has been included in the ‘free’ themes will act as a “backdoor” for the creators of these nulled themes. To make matters even worse, this code is hidden inside an encrypted script and is impossible to detect. Once the code is installed, the script takes out your data and sends it to the original developer, which in turn will not only harm your website or blog, but also disclose confidential information. In layman terms, you will have a nulled version of a script which doesn’t have an author protection.

As a matter of fact, when you decide to trust these themes instead of the original ones, you don’t know what you are getting. Often, people complain that these themes didn’t provide them with what they needed and even use websites for spam.

If you have been in the SEO industry long enough, you already know that malicious or infected websites have very low to zero chances of SEO. Once Google recognizes that your website has malware (which it will), you will be shut down for good. So, if you want even the slightest opportunity to work the magic of SEO, you need to make sure that you stick to the original versions of themes.

Pirated Themes Will Include Spam

Again, even if the theme doesn’t have malicious code, it will almost always include spam. And spam, as you will know, is terrible for you SEO efforts. Most of the time, one of the reasons why these themes are distributed is to gain spam links from as many websites as possible. This is why these themes will often have spam links in the website’s footer. These spam links will be terrible for your search engine optimization because search engines will shun you if you are hosting spam links.

Moreover, if you cater to a particular class of people who understand the ways of the internet, they will also find out about the spam and will think you and your business is unprofessional. This is why experts and professionals alike strongly recommend that you use themes from trusted vendors and developers and make sure that the theme you are using isn’t infected by checking it thoroughly.

Fundamentally, the simple presence of a virus or malicious code on your company website will affect your SEO adversely. This may sometimes even be true for all the SEO techniques you have implemented. Which means that every step you took to appear reliable and credible in the eyes of Google will be wasted, and you will end up losing your reputation completely.

Nulled Themes Create Bad Backlinks

One of the questions that you must be asking yourself since you started reading this blog is, “what are the motives behind people who sit behind their computer screens and build malicious codes and release nulled themes?” Well, the fact is that while there are developers who are always looking to help others and share their work, most have other reasons.

As we have already talked about, pirated or nulled themes are a very good way for developers to embed malicious code in them. What’s the motive? Sometimes, these codes are used to take control of your website and run havoc on your SEO efforts. This happens when the illegal owner of the theme installs low-quality or bad links to your website. These links can be about gambling, betting, pharmaceuticals and others. Though this may not seem like such a big deal, SEO expert know that such black-hat techniques don’t sit well with Google because it makes them think that the website is being used as an intermediate platform.

When this happens, Google starts dropping your ranking quickly but asks you to correct the mistake, this however is not as easy as it sounds.

Tools to Spot Malicious Code and Plugins

If you are doubtful about the theme you have downloaded and think that it is a premium theme which is being used for other purposes, it would be best to check its authenticity before downloading it for your business website. Here are two tools which will help you in this regard.

  • VirusTotal: Though there are many file checkers out there, this is one of the best ones which you can rely on, especially if you want to find out whether or not the theme file has a virus. All you need to do is to go to the website and upload the file to scan it. If the file has been infected or corrupted, you will get a red signal. If not, you are good to go and enjoy the theme you liked. Remember not to check the file using other garden-variety anti-virus software because they won’t be able to detect the very carefully hidden malicious code.
  • Exploit Scanner: If you need to check a plugin and make sure that it is not a nulled theme, you need to download Exploit Scanner, which is a plugin for WordPress which helps in finding out whether or not a theme is secure. Simply visit the official website of WordPress, where you can download the plugin for free. After you have installed the plugin, activate it and use it to scan the theme. Though it may take a few minutes to come up with results depending on the number of other plugins you are using but once it’s done working its magic, you will have a list of suspicious codes. You can then reference these codes in the WordPress repository and make sure that you delete them to avoid damage to your website.

If you are still in doubt and don’t have a good feeling about the theme, you should listen to your gut because it is often right.

Other Repercussions of Using Nulled Themes

SEO is affected by everything. It doesn’t matter if it’s the content on your website or the images, if something is not right, your keyword optimization and linking efforts will go down the drain. So although the above mentioned reasons are the main ones, there are a few other repercussions of using a nulled theme that will destroy your SEO, website and business.

  • You Can’t Ask for Professional Help: When you buy a premium theme, one of the reasons why it proves to be valuable is because you get access to professional help and support from the theme’s developer. Unfortunately, when you decide to download a nulled version, you are missing out on this very crucial part. Buying an original theme as opposed to a nulled theme will give you the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong, it can be fixed right away, without any extra payment.

    Pirated themes can get no professional help and if something goes wrong, you won’t be left with any option.

  • There Are No Updates: Yes, one of the biggest setbacks of having a nulled theme is that it cannot be updated. And do you know what happens to themes that aren’t updated? They get infected. It is imperative that you keep your WordPress theme updated because this is what makes it secure. When your theme isn’t updated, it will attract viruses, which in turn will further dampen your SEO efforts. In fact, when your pirated theme isn’t updated, it not only attracts viruses but can easily be penetrated because there is nothing safe guarding it.

    Other than security risks, not remaining up-to-date will also mean that you don’t get to benefit from the latest features being added to the theme. So even if you are not all that excited about the security risks (which you should be if you want your business to thrive), you should think about all the features you’ll be missing out on if you don’t buy a decent, original and premium version of a theme.

Wrapping it up

Today, if you want your website or blog to be recognized, you need to work on your SEO, and if you need the optimization to be successful, you must ensure that the theme you are using isn’t pirated. If you are building a website to bring your business up, spending some money on a decent theme shouldn’t be that hard, right?

So, take a step in the right direction and ensure that you don’t fall into the trap of a free, nulled WordPress theme because it will not only kill your SEO efforts, but also destroy your website. Instead, look for something that is the best of both world, which isn’t too expensive but not free as well.

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  1. Hello Karim,

    Thanks for your observations.

    I also found some nulled themes link out to sites randomly, the people using these themes are equally hurting their SEO because these links are dofollow.

  2. thanks for this article.

  3. Awesome content. A lot of digital marketing efforts ans SEO is wasted when we run away from little money that cannot break our bank.

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