Google: Don’t mix mobile URLs and responsive design

Having a website that works well with mobile devices is very important as about 60% of all visitors view websites on Smartphones. But should you use mobile URLs, or should you use responsive web pages? Can you combine both?

What is Google’s recommendation?

In March, Google’s John Mueller said that websites with separate mobile URLs (https://m.example.com) should move to responsive design.

A website that uses responsive design contains elements that respond differently when viewed on devices of different sizes. If a user views the website on a tablet, the website might automatically adjust to display just two columns.

If the user views the website on a smartphone, the content might appear as a single column. On responsive websites, images will resize instead of distorting the layout or getting cut off. Responsive design websites automatically adjust based on the device of the user.

Don’t mix mobile URLs and responsive design

Instead of using responsive design, websites could deliver special mobile URLs to smartphones. For example, desktop users might see www.example.com/page.html and smartphone users might see m.example.com/page.html.

On Twitter, a user asked what happened if he used both mobile URLs and responsive design. Google’s John Mueller said that you shouldn’t mix them because Google might get confused:

How to optimize your website for smartphones

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".