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Above the Fold Content for Charities

Above the fold blog lead image

Get to know your above the fold

How much do you think about your above the fold content? When developing pages for your site, do you consider the above the fold vs below the fold split? If it’s an area you’ve not considered in too much detail, then here is our introduction to above the fold content, and why you should be looking at it.

 

A description of where 'above the fold' originated as a phrase, with the title highlighted in orange.

What is above the fold content?

Above the fold content includes everything that you can see on your screen as soon as a webpage loads. Any content that isn’t visible when the page first loads and requires the audience to scroll to be seen, is labelled as below the fold content.

‘Above the fold’ is a concept that originated in printed media with newspapers. Historically, newspapers were usually sold folded in half, showing the headline story. This meant when the customers viewed the different newspapers, they weren’t showing all stories – just the top half of the front page.

In digital content, the ‘fold’ of the newspaper is the bottom of the screen; anything that falls below that screen edge is deemed below the fold.

 

Why does above the fold content matter?

Above the fold content is the first thing your audience see when a page loads, making it core real estate on any page. From an SEO perspective, we know search engines expect the most important content to be at the top of a page too. It’s also important to consider how this content impacts user’s experiences on your site.  The content you include above the fold needs to be eye catching and able to immediately grab your audience’s interest.

It’s been a mass reported trend that user attention spans are shrinking. With so much content available at user’s fingertips, only to be inflated with the growing volume of rapidly generated AI content, attention spans are becoming shorter to help user’s filter through the noise.

What’s more, a user can form an opinion on your charity’s site after 1 second of seeing it. Just 1 second. That’s not a lot of time, so your page needs to work hard and work fast to engage the minds and hearts of your audience.

 

What do you typically see above the fold for charities?

For most charities, you will see some common themes in above the fold assets. This will include:

  • Charity branding elements (logo, fonts and colours)
  • Navigation menu, which may include donate or shop buttons
  • Main Header
  • Lead imagery, whether it be a banner image or side image

Often, above the fold content is kept simple and minimal with the elements listed above. Sometimes though, charities may also wish to include a short sentence or two of text to give users more context about the page when they first land on it. Additionally, if your charity has other visual assets, such as emotive videos, you may wish to opt for these instead of images.

What should charities consider when designing above the fold content?

When it comes to the performance of above the fold content, AB testing is key. Trial out different above the fold designs and actions to see which ones your audience responds best to! We have provided some questions below to help you brainstorm the best content when trialling different above the fold designs for individual pages or templates.

Is there a clear action?

Do you have a clear action you want your audience to take when they land on the page? If so, you can include it above the fold! Websites that include CTAs above the fold have found they have higher conversion rates than those that don’t.

Take the Royal Voluntary Service’s homepage for example; the above the fold is bright, engaging and has a clear objective with a CTA inviting their audience to learn more about the coronation champions awards 2023. By including this CTA at the top it is one of the first things users see on the page, which gives them a clear next step on their journey.

Royal Voluntary Service homepage above the fold content highlighting the coronation champion awards 2023.

Does it engage your audience?

Above the fold content should be engaging; in fact it should be the most engaging part of the page. The content at the top of your page should have a clear focus that is supported by the content below the fold. You want it to be easy to use, relevant and to help meet your audiences needs right from the start, to increase the likelihood of users staying on the page.

Some charities don’t include enough information above the fold, meaning that user’s don’t connect with the content and will bounce off the site in search of something more engaging. On the other hand, some charities go the other way and try to fit way too much information into this area. This failure to prioritise the true purpose and actions wanted from a specific page can also have a bad impact, overwhelming your audience and making it hard to understand what they should do.

A good example

Take the above the fold for Dementia UK’s homepage. As a charity focussing on providing nursing support to both individuals with dementia and those supporting them, they have opted for a topical and relevant angle with their above the fold. As soon as you land on the homepage you are immediately presented with a link to their page on admiral nursing support – information many people will be seeking on the site. The relevancy of this link means many users that land on the homepage will engage with it.

The Dementia UK homepage, which presents a link for users to discover more about admiral nursing support for individuals with dementia.

 

Top tip: We recommend keeping above the fold content focused on your organisation. Whilst it may feel tempting to link to external sites, especially if they provide relevant information, overall, this will result in your audience landing on a page only to be immediately be directed off-site. Instead, you can include references to external sites below the fold as part of the pages supporting information. Use the prime real estate at the top of the page to showcase what your own charity provides!

Does it contribute to your objectives?

Your above the fold content should aim to help meet your charity’s objectives and KPIs. Whether you want donations, volunteers or fundraising event sign ups, the content at the top of your page should contribute to your targets.

The objective you focus on will differ depending on the page you’re reviewing. For example, if a user has landed on on of you blog pages, a CTA offering them the opportunity to sign up to your charity’s newsletter may be more likely to convert than a hard CTA asking for donations. Considering the type of information your user will be consuming on that particular page and how far along they will be in the conversion funnel will help guide the choice of CTA you may want to place above the fold to meet specific objectives.

Does it look good on all device types?

Don’t forget to consider how this content looks on different device. Where the fold falls on a page will always differ slightly, depending on whether users visit your charity on mobile or desktop and taking into account different screen sizes  However, with sites deploying responsive designs, where that ‘fold’ falls on sites is roughly the same across desktop and mobile layouts of a page.

 

Final thoughts

User’s will only scroll down a page if they feel there is a good reason to. When user’s see a lack of valuable information, they will stop scrolling. If your content above the fold doesn’t succeed in capturing user attention, there’s a high chance they’ll exit your site and bounce back to the search results. So it’s an area you need to get right.

Hopefully the insights above have given you some good starting points for you to begin optimising your own charity’s above the fold content – we’d love to see some of your examples in the comments below!

Looking for love at first *web-sight*?

Have a chat with us about how you can refresh your above the fold content to enhance SEO and user engagement on your site! You can email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk or visit our contact page to drop us a message – we can’t wait to hear from you.

 

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    How to Refresh Your Content for SEO- The Explainer Series.

    Refreshing existing content on your site is a great way of ensuring the information you provide stays up-to-date and doesn’t become untimely. When it comes to optimising your site’s content, it can be very tempting to just focus on creating new pieces.

    But it’s important to know that Google loves seeing content be maintained. So much so, updated pages often get a ranking boost in the search results, which can help keep you ahead of your competitors.

    Here is my guide on how to update content on your site to get the best results from your SEO.

     

    How to update existing content to benefit your SEO.

    The Strategy.

    Review your objectives.

    Before touching any content it’s worth having a conversation with your stakeholders to get an understanding of what the organisation’s key objectives and priorities are. This can have strong sway over the topics and areas of the site you decide to focus on.

     

     

    Conduct keyword research and benchmark your rankings.

    Once you know what the content needs to achieve, the best place to start is with keyword research. At this stage, you want to compile a list of all the different search terms that are related to topics you want to rank for. Along with the keywords you also want to gather information for each keyword, such as the average search volume, user intent and keyword competitiveness. This will help you deduce if a keyword is worth targeting or not.

    Once you have this data, you will want to take these keywords and get a ranking benchmark for your site and a couple of its main SEO competitors.

    The benchmark will tell you where you rank, and how you’re situated against key competitors in the search results. Knowing where you rank for a keyword can help inform whether that keyword is one worthwhile focusing on.

    With all this information, you then want to go through and select the keywords that best meet your needs and can be improved upon. To give your content strategy a clear focus we recommend a starting list of around 10-12 keywords; this list can be expanded upon once pages for those initial keywords have been worked on.

    Tip:  Categorise your keywords whilst you are gathering this research. This saves you precious time when you want to look at all keywords you have around a specific niche, such as ‘heat pumps’ or ‘loft insulation’.

     

    Map your keywords to landing pages.

    You now have your list of target keywords. Through the ranking benchmark you’ll know where you rank, and which of your pages rank. However, before proceeding any further you’ll want to make sure the page that ranks is the most relevant one on your site.

    Sometimes, the page Google ranks isn’t the most suitable page. This can happen when you have lots of similar content for a topic, or you don’t have a directly appropriate page live. It’s worth reviewing the page that ranks for each of your target keywords to make sure the ranking page is the right page, or to identify if an alternative is required.

    Where an alternative is required you should then consider: does the right page already exist on your site, or do you need to create a brand new page? Note down in your master sheet whether you need to optimise the current ranking page, an alternative existing page, or create a completely new page. Once you know which pages you’re working with, you can start to optimise the on-page elements.

     

    The Copy.

    Make sure your copy is up to date.

    When updating the content on your live page, you want to do more than make sure you reference your target keyword enough times. Review the copy in place to make sure all information is still relevant. Where information is no longer applicable or is incorrect, remove that copy or update it.

     

    User Intent.

    You want to make sure the copy in place meets the needs and intent of the user. Whilst there can be temptation to focus on guiding them to your end goal for the page, with content you need to reach a happy medium; what does the user want to know? Answer that.

     

    Be direct.

    Where questions are asked, make sure you answer directly and try to avoid going on a tangent. By maintaining a direct focus on the question you’ll make your content more targeted towards any long-tailed keywords. This helps group your content more and can make it more grabbable, increasing its chances of being pulled through to the search results in other search features, such as featured snippets.

     

    Competitor Analysis.

    To get an idea of what you need to include in order to rank well, start with some competitor analysis. Look at the competitor pages that rank in the top positions for your chosen keyword. Take note of the type of pages that rank and the content they include. This gives you an idea of what Google is looking for. Through doing this you may identify some content gaps; where content for sub-topics is missing on your page but covered by your competitors. Populating these gaps is a great step toward updating your page and building it out.

     

    Consider your target audience.

    You will also want to take into consideration your target audience and what information would be helpful for them. We recently reviewed a page discussing energy-saving tips for a client. The page focused on providing money-saving tips as well as energy saving, which had quite a short-term focus.

    There was no information for the audience that would benefit more long-term advice. To make the content more ‘evergreen’ we adapted it to cover where they might need to invest money initially but would save money in the long term. By including that type of content as well, the page was more rounded and provided options to the client’s target audience based on situations they may find themselves in.

     

    The Hygiene Factors.

    Once you have the content re-vamped, you want to start to look at other on-page SEO factors to make sure the page all relevant factors are optimised towards the relevant search terms.

     

    Review your URL.

    As one of the first impressions users and search engines get of a page, you want your URL to be SEO friendly. When reviewing your URLs, you want to ensure they all follow a consistent format. This can include elements such as:

     

    • All characters are lowercase; avoid including any uppercase letters.
    • Use of dashes to separate words rather than underscores.
    • No number or character strings; use keywords so users get a clear contextual understanding of the page’s contents.
    • Include a clear structure, so where pages have parent pages those parent pages are referenced in the URL structure. This makes it clear where you are within the architecture of the site.

     

    For example:

    An SEO friendly URL:

    https://www.example.com/guides/epc-rating

    A not so SEO friendly URL: https://www.example.com/Hgknu4643466edgFaDjryt365g_epc_guide

     

    Changing the URL can have an impact on that page’s rankings, so there should always be caution when making any edits. Generally, we only recommend changing the URL if the aim is to include a target keyword.

     

    Check your meta data.

    Consisting of the page title and meta description, meta data is another first impression users receive of your site in the search results. Page titles are a ranking factor, and the meta description influences the click through rate (which is also a ranking factor). For this reason, they’re key elements to get right.

     

     

    Be aware of character limits – as a rule of thumb 70 characters are ideal for page titles and 155 characters for meta descriptions. Meta data that is too long will either be cut off in the search results or ignored completely. Meta data that’s too short also isn’t ideal, as it suggests you’re not utilising the full space available.

    As well as length, you also want to make sure the meta data features the keyword you’re targeting. Want to rank for the term ‘how to save energy at home’? Include that keyword directly in the page title. Referencing the same keyword, or a variation of it in the meta description, is also recommended.

     

    Check your headings.

    Next, you want to review how headings are implemented on your page. Whilst headings can be formatted to visually demonstrate the main heading vs subsequent sub-headings, for search engines you need to add in header tags.

    Header tags are visible in the backend of the page only but allow search engines to see where you’re main heading is (H1), as well as any sub-headings that follow (H2-H6). The H1 is another ranking factor used by search engines, so you want to make sure the main heading includes the target keyword (or a variation of it). By using header tags in a hierarchal structure on the page you help to break down the content and provide a clear structure for search engines to follow.

     

     

    Optimise your images.

    Images can make a big difference to a landing page. Breaking up the copy and offering another avenue of presenting your content. Where you use images, you want to make sure they’re accessible to all users and SEO friendly. This means making sure images have relevant alt tags in place and making sure images are uploaded in appropriate dimensions and file size.

     

    Alt Tags

    Alt tags help search engines ‘see’ your image. So, it’s worth having an alt tag in place. You should aim to include the keyword if you can, but only if it’s relevant to the image.

    When adding alt tags to images consider their function. Images intended for decoration only do not need an alt tag. However, images that contain relevant details and contribute to the user experience do need an alt tag.

    Historically alt tags were used as an opportunity to repeatedly include the target keyword; this is a method that is now detrimental to SEO. The prime aim of alt tags today, is accessibility. As assistant technology reads alt tags to users with visual impairments, you want to make sure they get a clear description.

     

    Image sizing

    When uploading images to your CMS, aim to upload them in the dimensions used on the page. This can help massively with page speed; large images slow down page load time as browsers download the image and then need to re-size it. Check your images. If they’re hitting the 1mb milestone they’re way too big. Aim closer to 100-300kb, but make sure you aren’t compromising on image quality. No one likes a pixelated image.

     

    Review your internal linking.

    Once you have the content reviewed and updated, looking at the page’s internal linking situation is the next step. This is a two-pronged approach. You want to look at where your page is linking to elsewhere on the site and you want to look at how your page is being linked to.

     

    When writing the content for the page, consider if you have relevant content that can be linked to from this page. If the content is related to the topic and will provide valuable, additional information to the user, then we recommend adding a link.

     

    When linking to another page, strive to use a target keyword for the page you’re linking to in the anchor text. This can help convey context of the page you’re linking to.

     

    You also want to look at how your page is being linked to, and make sure it can easily be accessed. Blog content, for example, can easily get buried in the blog section under new articles.

     

    Often, sites will link to important blog articles from evergreen pages to ensure they can consistently and easily be found by users and search engines alike. Make sure your page is visible within the site; this can make a big difference with the indexing and ranking of that page.

     

     

    If you have anything you’d like to share regarding our tips about optimising existing content, or just want to have a conversation about how we can support your content, get in touch.

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