Adaptive/responsive technical and SEO considerations

By: Bluegum Creations
Monday, 11th December 2017
Adaptive/responsive technical and SEO considerations

In today’s market, don’t ignore the use of mobile devices. The maximum number of internet users use mobile(responsive). Your site should be easy to view on a mobile device, otherwise, you’re losing visitors.

If you are surfing a website with ease in a mobile site, it probably uses one of these techniques. Hence, these play a crucial role in the modern internet industry. Also, without implementation of these, failure is inevitable. While building a website, they play a vital role in your business.

You might be unaware about the differences between adaptive and responsive websites. Technically, adaptive websites alter server-side layout whereas responsive sites alter its client side’s.

These ideas emerged to serve all the content of a single site from a single domain. I guess we all have come through ‘m.’ mobile domains while surfing through mobile phones. These domains did the job of making content accessible to mobile devices. A number of issues were generated as they were separate domains. The major issue was Google detecting same content on two separate domains.

They basically achieve the same result, serving content to different profile devices but, some best practices among them are essential to understand.

Both adaptive and responsive can prepare your website for mobile use but in very different ways.


While creating an adaptive mobile site, we need to use a device library to know individual device capabilities. For this, we need to use 51-degree industry standard.

Note that Black hat SEO technique was used, known as clocking. This technique changed the content of page based upon the detected user agent. The need was to show Google different pages to end user.  Due to which, whenever we do an adaptive site we have to set the “Vary: User-Agent” response header for all content pages. This confronts Google about what we are doing and avoids cloaking.

As you do this, proxy servers also know it should be caching a different copy for each user agent string. Again, apply the header value only to the content pages. Proxies should not store dozens of copies of your CSS and images. This will negatively affect your bandwidth, especially while using an origin server style CDN.


Using this technique, all devices get same html content. Here, CSS and JavaScript change the layout. As, all devices receive same content, it is considered best for SEO. However, it is worst from client’s perspective. Your mobile device will be downloading all desktop site content. It only hides what you won’t need.

This layout can fit to any device sizes and profile. A responsive site is more difficult to implement. It requires extra attention to the site’s CSS and organization. But, it also has an advantage that it loads faster. Responsive websites respond to the size of the browser at any given point.

Which is better, adaptive or responsive?

Responsive design scores greater than adaptive approach. It always functions better regardless of any screen size come in market. Responsive design is worth all effort you put in. Responsive design gives you a better feeling. Makes your website real smooth.

Though, sometimes adaptive may be a better option. Especially, for smaller and newer websites. An adaptive site is easier to create.

It is wiser to know your requirements.