These articles make it look like they are:

This is an example of what would be a penalized viewport (fixed width):

<meta name="viewport" content="width=400, initial-scale=0.75">

This would not be penalized:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=0.75">

The reason seems to be that the fixed width version is considered bad for mobile usability.

Considering that I have verified with lots of testing that the fixed-width version works better cross-browser when combined with javascript code to update the viewport size, I believe this issue is of major importance.

So, am I correct? Is the fixed width version going to be penalized?

  • When Google launched the whole mobility thing earlier this year, there was a small bit of scrambling on Google's end to match the reality that they did not expect fully. There is always a learning curve and I think a few things surprised them a bit- not major of course. It may be that more time is required. Does the fixed width example you provide pass the mobility test? The test has shifted around a bit and I suspect it has been updated to match the code used elsewhere.
    – closetnoc
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:15
  • Yes, the fixed width passes the mobility tests, but I still got it reported by google as an issue days latter in an email.
    – jacmkno
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:20
  • google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/…
    – jacmkno
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:21
  • Huh. Interesting. The whole mobility thing could be a moving target for a while as Google figures out all the possible methods which appears to be vast enough. I think of the mobility thing as being binary- either you are or your are not- at least in the eyes of Google. If they complain, right or wrong, it may be wise to pay attention. Can you set the viewport to width=device-width then use JS to set it to width=400? Not one who does JS much at all, is this possible you think?
    – closetnoc
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 4:28
  • 3
    Your not helping your site by blocking resources in your robots.txt such as images in misc. You have 14 blocks which is 14 too many, you should have 0, because over 49 resources are not being loaded. Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 23:43

1 Answer 1


Yes and no. I have a website that has two versions of the site. One for desktop, one for mobile. The mobile website has a fixed viewport of 380 and according to Google's Mobile Ready Test my website is mobile friendly. It also shows up in mobile search results as being mobile friendly.

Google says that a fixed width viewport is accepted but it is not recommended.

So, no. You will not be penalized for a fixed viewport as long as the viewport is small enough. Most mobile viewports that I've seen are set to 380.

  • 1
    I don't think the 400 width is being penalized.I just confirmed that most pages in the site show the mobile version flag in google results.
    – jacmkno
    Commented Aug 7, 2015 at 5:53
  • Agreed. Many games and web apps that have layouts that use fixed viewports. In 90% of circumstances device-width is the right way to go. But there are reasons you might want to have a fixed viewport.
    – Bangkokian
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 18:37

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