My question is about responsive designs (HTML + CSS). Does it matter if I use a different elements for desktop and mobile versions of my site? I mean that my page isn't really responsive, it only checks the user-agent using PHP code, and if it's a desktop user it includes desktoparticle.php, if not it will include mobilearticle.php.

These two PHP files are different, they have a different structure and different styles, also a different order of elements, but they are both under the same domain; this functionality is under the same URL also.

So my question is, would Google get confused, and is this something bad to do? Would this affect my SEO?

  • 1
    Are you redirecting visitors based on user-agent to different URLs (pages) for desktop and mobile versions, or including different content on the same URL for both types? In the first case, you might end up with two URLs indexed (the desktop and mobile URLs you redirected to). You might want to add a canonical link to one in that case to avoid duplicate content.
    – dan
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 0:13

1 Answer 1


yes, and no

If I understand your question correctly, your site is not actually responsive, in that you/your viewers are not able to adjust the width of the desktop browser and have the site automatically adjust to the format for the mobile viewers. However, you have established different style elements in your CSS file which deliver specific elements based on the site visitors "viewport" (aka screensize). Both pages return the same article, but they have different page names and different graphical layouts.

... would Google get confused, and is this something bad to do?

IMHO, Google will likely rank the pages separately, or individually. This may end up being a great way for you to evaluate traffic patterns from each platform. Does the average site visitor on the mobile platform navigate the site the same way the average desktop user does? You will probably end up with a lot of beneficial data points providing insight into how your site(s) are used and what you might be able to change to improve their functionality.

Would this affect my SEO?

I don't think Google would slap your wrist for it. Lots of sites have not gone "responsive". It's a design choice, not a standard.

  • Thanks for you answer, but i need to mention, that the URL of both platforms is equal, but the page knows what to include based on php check mobile function. the URL still the same but the elements are different. this is the question basically Commented May 17, 2019 at 11:15
  • Can you clarify what you mean by "the URL of both platforms is equal"? Is there one page, or two?
    – elbrant
    Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.