What does ‘above the fold’ mean?

In this episode, Mary Katherine Bushnell, Communications & Training Specialist at Infomedia, discusses the meaning of the term “above the fold” in relation to websites, why it’s not exactly necessary to include all the important information on your site above the fold, and how SEO plays a role in what should be at the top of a website.

Mary Katherine explains that the term “above the fold” comes from the days when we relied on newspapers to get our news and information. What you see on the page after the newspaper is folded is what is above the fold. Carrie, who used to work in journalism, describes how newspaper boxes only showed the parts of the paper above the fold, so including the important stories at the top of the newspaper was a way to grab the attention of the reader and make them want to purchase it.

These days, the term is often applied to websites, and the premise is the same — when someone arrives on a website, the prime real estate is what the user sees before ever scrolling. While many people still care about what is above the fold on a website, we should also acknowledge that times are changing. New schools of thought have shown that keeping information above the fold on a website is not as important as we previously thought. We’ve been trained by social media to interact with a platform by scrolling, which means the prime real estate on a website is no longer restricted to the very top. In fact, many users don’t even wait for a website to load fully before they begin scrolling.

Keep in mind that Google still reads websites from top to bottom. If you’re concerned about SEO and how Google reads your website, including important information closer to the top of a webpage still holds weight. We recommend installing Google Analytics on your website to keep up with how people are interacting with your site and help you make decisions about how you may need to display information differently.

About Carrie

Carrie Rollwagen is host of the Localist podcast and cofounder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Currently, she works as Vice President of Strategic Planning at Infomedia, a web development company in Birmingham, Alabama. Find the Localist at @thinklocalist on Instagram and follow Carrie at @crollwagen.

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