Search Engine Journal Recently discussed content shown ‘above the fold’ and reported on Google’s apparent preference for it. Above the fold refers to content that’s visible to users without the need to scroll down. We’ll explore this issue and provide our take on the matter.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
by Roger Montti
Published by Search Engine Journal, May 10, 2021
“Above the fold” is a reference to the content that can be seen without scrolling when a web page loads in a browser.
The origin of the phrase comes from how newspapers used to be displayed within a news box vending machine.
The top part of the newspaper that was above where the newspaper was folded (above the fold) would be visible. Above the fold today means the content that is at the top of the page and is visible without having to scroll down to see it…
It’s an entirely reasonable question to ask if there’s a ranking benefit to pushing more of the content above the fold. The user experience is better when more content is above the fold.
So the main thing is that we want to see some content above the fold…
Which means… a part of your page should be visible when a user goes there.
So for example, if a user goes to your website and they just see a big holiday photo and they have to scroll down a little bit to actually get content about a hotel, then that would be problematic for us.
But if they go to your home page and they see a hall of fame photo on top and also a little bit of information about the hotel, for example for a hotel site, that would be fine.
So it’s not purely that the content has to be above the fold. But… some of the content has to be.”
Here is our view on the topic:
It seems that Google still prioritized content featured above the fold, but not to the extent that web designers have to squeeze a lot of content there. Before Google relied on natural language processing, above-the-fold content required keywords to be sufficiently optimized.
Now, some relevant content included above the fold should be enough to satisfy Google’s algorithms, which are more sophisticated than they were five to ten years ago. The author also informs us that Google does prioritize–and is able to quite accurately–content in the middle and at the end of the page.
Therefore, the rush to fill the top with keyword and link-rich content doesn’t carry the same import as it did in the past. That said, quality content above the fold still scores points. One thing appears clear–if you omit to place good content in that top field, you’re not going to satisfy the algorithms. Be sure that there is some relevant content placed there to achieve the SEO boost you’re looking for.
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