Above the fold is a term that has been inherited from print design. When a newspaper is placed in a newsstand, only the top half of the front page is visible because the paper has been folded in half. Because of this it is important to place eye catching headlines and images ‘above the fold’. The terminology was then adopted by other forms of print media and eventually it became relevant to web design.
In terms of website design, above the fold refers to content that is immediately visible without scrolling. Google has a Page Layout algorithm, which looks at content available above the fold compared to adverts above the fold. That’s not to say that you cannot have adverts above the fold, but Google wants to see a substantial amount more content compared to ads. Google’s official announcement:
“Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away. So sites that don’t have much content “above-the-fold” can be affected by this change.”
So, it would seem that content above the fold is good for SEO, but what about usability? Certainly there is an argument for a nice large product image above the fold, but there are some key elements to place above the fold. Obviously it is common practice to place your company name at the top left of the website in the form of your logo, but it is also very important to answer the “who, what, where and how” for your products or services above the fold. In addition, placing your location and contact details as high as possible on the page is also recommended.
Whether it is images or content, and there should be plenty of space for both, whatever is placed above the fold is the first thing that potential customers will see when visiting your website. This should engage the readers and make them what to scroll on. If the above the fold content is not interesting and engaging your users have no reason to stay on your website and may simply leave the site without scrolling at all.
What is above the fold on your website? Do you think your above the fold content is optimal?
Let us know in the comments below.