When Search Engine Optimisation is mentioned, concepts such as keyword density, quality backlinks and user engagement are often at the forefront. However, a little known concept that is often overlooked is the actual placement of the content on a webpage.
What Is the Fold?
Broadly speaking, content placement can be split into two categories, namely above the fold, and below the fold. The term “above the fold” was first introduced in traditional newspaper advertising, whereby readers would immediately see the piece of content without needing to unfold the newspaper. In modern website terms, it refers to content that is visible on a webpage when it first loads, thus not requiring a user to scroll below the fold.
Traditionally, brands have consistently held the belief that the space above the fold is premium land, which should be filled up. Over time, they have come to realised that squeezing too much into that small space results in a messy user experience that might lead to a premature bounce. Nonetheless, many still have held on to the belief that the most important information should be retained above the fold.
How the Fold Affects SEO
On the surface, as far as SEO is concerned, it might make sense to put as much content above the fold as possible. Afterall, logically this ensures that your content would not be missed out on by users. However, further studies into mobile users’ behaviour have found this piece of logic to be tragically flawed.
A simple anecdote to illustrate the loophole here would be an individual’s behaviour when a webpage is loading on their phone. Instead of waiting for the page to load, they often immediately start to scroll down to content “below the fold”. This has been found to be largely habitual and a certain level of impatience that exist within all of us.
Placing Content To Meet User Behaviour
How then can web designers structure their website knowing that users are impatient and likely to take action in the midst of the loading of the page? Contextual cues and Call-To-Actions (CTAs) at intermittent points could be key here. Implementing arrows, animated buttons and lines help to guide a user’s scrolling. In this case, two way ques would inform the user of content that lies both above and below the section that the user has landed on when the page finally loads finish.
If this line of thought is upheld, multiple implications emerge. For instance, a longer scrolling website where more white space and neater design then becomes a possibility. However, designers should ensure that sticky navigation tools are created alongside long scrolling. This helps to prevent excess movement on a webpage and annoyance at the difficulty in navigating to other pages on the website.
Getting Experienced Help In Designing Your Website
Knowing the right amount of content to be above the fold, and the funnel to guide users on your website can be a highly tricky task. In this aspect, engage a professional website design service provider to assist you with developing your website. Beyond attaining their expertise in designing, their capabilities in user acceptance testing would help to optimise your website for conversions.