Which is Better - a Responsive Website Design or a Mobile Version for SEO?

Alexander Gorodov
Alexander Gorodov Head of Marketing Department
6 min read

If you own an online store or a corporate site with analytics connected, you couldn't help but notice that traffic received from mobile devices accounts for a significant share of total traffic. More and more often we are accessing sites from smartphones, it saves time and allows us to complete tasks quickly. For you as a businessman, this means that if the issue of a correctly functioning website on mobile devices has not yet been resolved, it is high time to address it. Digging deeper into the topic, you will learn that there are several ways to optimize a web resource for smartphones: a mobile version of the site or an adaptive design

What is an Adaptive Design and Mobile Version of the Site?

Both methods perform the same task - to make it so that users can work comfortably with the site on different devices - smartphones, tablets, laptops. In this case, it does not matter what resolution and screen format the gadgets have. What are the differences between the two methods?

1. Adaptive Design

In fact, this mechanic adapts the content of the site to the parameters of the device. You don't create a new version of the web resource, but only adapt the design.

Which is Better - a Responsive Website Design or a Mobile Version for SEO?

2. Mobile version of the site

And here already appears a separate version of your project. It is characterized by simplicity and reduced functionality - only the most important content that users need remains. This allows visitors to navigate comfortably and quickly find the information they need or perform the necessary actions. This version has a separate address with the prefix m. or mobile.

Let's find out the advantages and disadvantages of these ways of implementation to understand what is better than adaptive layout or a separate mobile version of the site.

Which is Better - a Responsive Website Design or a Mobile Version for SEO? - 1

What are the Advantages of the Mobile Version of the Site?

1. Fast download speed

As we have already said, when developing a mobile version "discarded" unnecessary functionality for mobile users, which reduces the load and the site is displayed faster 🤗.

Adaptive layout adapts the design to your client's smartphone, loading all the HTML and CSS from the regular version of the site. This complicates the loading of the web page and makes the user wait.

SEO: One of the ranking factors in Google is website load speed.

2. High level of usability

Since this method involves sharpening the site for mobile users, the version of the web resource turns out to be very convenient and natural in a mobile environment. This increases the comfort for your clients.

The difference is that if you use an adaptive design, secondary blocks for mobile users will only prevent potential customers from getting the information they need.

SEO: The usability of an online store or web resource is also one of the ranking factors, if the user quickly leaves the site, it means the site's usability is inadequate.

3. Fast implementation of changes

The mobile version has its own separate code, which means it's easier to edit and make changes without affecting the desktop version.

Adaptive layout implies that all versions of the site lie in one environment, it is one code and it is more difficult to implement changes.

Adaptive design or mobile development for SEO: specialists need to work with the code, with files such as sitemap, robots and others. Accordingly, when working with adaptive design we need to be more careful, as these files are in one environment.

4. The right to choose

If the client wants to go to the full version of the site, he can easily do this with the appropriate button. Adaptive layout does not provide this option, but it is not needed, because it is convenient for the client to work with the site, no matter what device he enters.

Disadvantages of the Mobile Version of the Site for SEO

1. Additional workload for specialists

Search engines can identify the mobile version as a copy of the main version. To ensure that the site is not penalized because of duplicate content, professional SEOs use the rel="alternative" and rel="canonical" meta tags, which solves the problem.

2. Additional load on the database

It is important to use a common database for website versions. Then in any case you will not forget to add a new page for the mobile version of the site and SEO will not suffer. Also check the correctness of 301 redirects. Otherwise the user from the search can go to the internal page of the site, conditionally A, and when redirecting to the mobile version of page A, get to the main page of the mobile version, which causes misunderstanding on the part of the client and a possible bounce rate.


What to choose - an adaptive website design or a mobile version for the online store or website? As we can see, there are advantages and disadvantages in both options, so the decision should be made separately for each project together with SEO-specialists and layout designers. For example, in most cases, for small sites and online stores is a more advantageous option - it is adaptive design. You can turn to the experts at Artjoker for such a task. In our team, developers and marketers work in harmony, which means that all the requirements of search engines are successfully implemented. We take an integrated approach to business, so you can order an online store on wordpress. And our specialists will consult you on all existing CMS, for example modx website creation.

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