Above the fold: what it means and how to optimize it on your website

The term Above the fold translated from English means “above the fold”. Have you ever heard of it? If you are involved in digital marketing, you probably know that this expression indicates the top of a web page that is visible on the user side without any scrolling action.

Initially used in print media to refer to the visible portion of a newspaper when it was folded in half, the term later became an essential element in web marketing and SEO. Why is it so important in online and search engine marketing? How can it influence the ranking of a web page on SERPs? As you continue reading this article, the answers you are looking for will soon follow.

These lines will be a recipe of useful definitions, tricks, and tips for you if you have a blog or a website or if you are entering the world of optimization. Here you will find:

  • a detailed definition of Above the fold and a description of its use on web pages
  • a list of steps on how to improve it
  • tips for making good use of them in email marketing.

If you want to learn the secrets of web page optimization and position your blog in the top results of Google SERPs, I recommend you take a look at our SEO Specialist Course. Meaning of above the fold applied to the web

Above the fold is that portion of the page that a user views as soon as he lands on a landing page before scrolling down its sidebar. Not to be confused with ”above the line”, which in communication plans designates which investments are dedicated to traditional media (those of smaller media are Below the line). As in a newspaper, the top slice of a web page produces the input to read or, in this case, to act. It is, in essence, the business card of a landing page. If a visitor to a blog or site finds the top segment interesting he will scroll to continue and move on to the content at the bottom, Below the fold. Or he will click a Call to Action (an essential tool in inbound marketing) to go deeper, a social button to share, or will go on to purchase if it is an e-commerce site. Conversely, those who are not immediately caught by the fold content will close their browser tab and risk penalizing the blog in the eyes of the search engine.

These actions are within a matter of seconds. The attention threshold of the online user is very short (estimated to be around eight seconds), so an excellent fold must be created to prevent this from interrupting the browsing session. Google, Search Engine par excellence, takes online navigation into great consideration by tracking our every move. If the online user experience is usable and satisfying, the performance of the sites will also be better. This Above the fold plays a fundamental role in Search Engine Optimisation. It is defined as an indirect ranking factor in its own right, closely linked to UX and web design. In a winning strategy, the ‘above the fold’ area will never be left to chance but improved to be compelling and fluent for the user.

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Best practice for optimizing the ”above the fold” section

There are a few tricks that will help you achieve a correct optimization of the Above the fold area which is always followed by an improvement in the performance of a page. The portion must first follow three basic rules:

  1. intriguing content
  2. exciting debut
  3. attractive images.

According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group (a leading American company in UX consulting and research), content on the top slice of the web page was viewed 102% more times than below the fold. The game, therefore, is played at the top.

how to optimize above the fold

The Below the fold is the container for all data in the lower area of the page. To display it, you have to scroll and navigate over it. This will happen if you can offer attractive fold content. Scrolling is considered an extra action for the visitor of a page, he will only do it if it is worth it.

The question you may be asking yourself now is: how do I improve my Above the Fold and make it interesting for my blog visitor to scroll down to Below the Fold? In answer, I’ll give you a list of best practices to make the Above the fold segment more usable, appealing, and able to pass the eight-second test. In three easy steps, you should optimize:

  • the loading of elements
  • visualization on mobile devices
  • content.

As you continue reading the article, you will find an analysis of tips for an effective Above the fold that will help you make navigation clear and simple for those who visit your blog.

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Optimizing the loading of the first visible elements

The first thing to do to achieve a Seo-friendly Above the fold is to improve the loading of the data that you want to be seen first. Among the very first digital content that is displayed on a website or blog page are:

  • menu
  • logo
  • images
  • font
  • trolley and/or language selector
  • icons and social media buttons.

What does a browser do when a web page is displayed? First of all, it analyses the HTML code of the latter to be able to return it quickly to the user. However, it often has to download external data (e.g. CSS and JavaScript), which slows down the entire process. My advice is to select the elements that are indispensable for your Above the fold and load the necessary CSS (also applies to JavaScript) so that those landing on the Landing page can see the most important ones first. Then the data the Below the fold can be loaded.

In this regard, I would like to point out two free tools that will help you speed up the rendering time of your landing page:

Page design and structure are key points in the optimization process. most suitable ones have been chosen, the images, logo, and social media buttons should be optimized so that they load easily from the browser and with the best possible resolution. For logos, icons, and social media buttons, using vector format (.svg) is the best choice as it helps to manage the resolution on the devices on which they will be displayed. While images should be compressed to reduce their weight.example, converting them to WebP format or using a free tool (such as Compressor.io to reduce the kilobytes without losing the quality of the file. The size suggested by the web design world for Above the fold is 1024×786 pixels.

Not to be forgotten is the font in which the textual content will be displayed. To prevent the space from remaining empty when loading, it is possible to render an alternative font that temporarily replaces the one chosen. This strategy could clash with web design since the screen returned to the surfer is not immediately programmed, but is necessary to avoid the FOIT effect (empty space).

Making the section responsive

To index a web page on Google, it is necessary to optimize it for mobile devices. On 21 April 2015, Google launched an update to its algorithm, called Mobilegeddon, in which it added a new component to the ranking factors: responsiveness Above the fold must be equally responsive to stay in line with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

People today live on social media, constantly connected to Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Twitter. As a consequence, blogs or sites are also increasingly viewed from mobile, so responsiveness becomes a priority. Again, web design cannot be neglected. CMSs such as WordPress give you the possibility, without becoming a design expert, to use mobile-friendly themes or, for example, to check that your blog article, and that above the fold, is displayed correctly on mobile devices.

Content optimization

Any self-respecting content must stand out for its originality and uniqueness. In an age where people prefer to spend their leisure time on social media and where you have to win users’ attention with your teeth, your Above the fold content must be clear and concise. I will list four actions you should follow:

  1. the title. Persuasive and comprehensive, it will lead your user to think they are in the right place.
  2. payoff. The fragment below the title must accompany the main heading so that the subject of the fold content is immediately clear.
  3. call to Action. Insert CTAs that invite the visitor to click and create conversions and/or generate leads.
  4. consistency. This is an important element that must always be respected online. Consistency with your identity helps customers recognize your brand and generates awareness.

In the area of content marketing, these actions lie at the base. Any self-respecting SEO copywriting strategy follows these steps, which are only a small fragment of what can be done to improve performance and ranking on Google SERPs.

Above the fold not only on web pages

So far we have talked about web pages, but Above the fold is also present in email marketing. You can find it in the newsletter of a company you have subscribed to receive regular updates, or in a direct email marketing (DEM) of a famous brand that offers you the latest news. The concept is the same: when the user opens his e-mail he will see the first content at the top and decide whether to scroll with his cursor and go to the sector below or trash the e-mail. There are only a few moments available to get his attention, but with the right best practices and good web design work, you have a better chance of driving home with a scroll or even a click.

Approximately 60 percent of people when receiving such an e-mail message do not go beyond the first screen displayed. So, we can call the ”above the fold” part the beating heart of email marketing. Targeting it will be your winning weapon. The heart of your emails should be:

  • mobile responsive. Today, the vast majority of people access their e-mail inboxes via mobile devices, so the content should be as user-friendly as possible.
  • modular design. Neatly structured and organized in modules for an extremely readable and flowing design.
  • call to action. The CTA still plays a key role as it must draw the customer’s attention in just a few seconds. What is shown will be clear from the outset and will emphasize benefits and advantages.

If you follow these practices, you will be able to achieve excellent results with your Above the fold and you will be able to convert and generate leads through these web marketing tools as well.

Conclusions and free strategic advice

By the end of this path, I hope to have given you a clear view of Above the fold and the importance it has in web marketing and search engine optimization strategies. Optimizing its elements and design will make the top section of your web page more usable and interesting. With your content marketing and optimization strategy, you will build a positive user experience that will help you grow on search engines like Google. Remember the importance of prioritizing content that will get the customer to move the scroll bar, and above all, never underestimate the power of an effective and eye-catching Above the fold.

If, in addition to the area above, you would like to further be advised on digital marketing for your company or on how to make it more social, rely on our experts

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