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Above the Fold Content for Charities

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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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    SEO Updates for April and May 2022

    April started spectacularly with Brighton SEO bringing together SEO enthusiasts from across the globe. We witnessed a great range of talks at the biannual beachside conference, covering everything from the fundamentals of search right through to the future of SEO in the ‘metaverse’. The weeks to follow have continued to offer several other interesting developments which we’re unpacking below. 

    Google Released Annual Search Spam Report

    In response to a world searching for ‘how to heal’, Google highlighted how they kept 99% of searches spam-free with significant improvements in fighting link spam, scam results, and ranking manipulation in their annual search spam report. 

    Google also focussed on reducing low-quality content through identifying behaviours that manipulated search rankings. These behaviours would narrowly avoid violation of the quality guidelines but negatively impact user experience. With the help of their AI-based system SpamBrain, Google stated they were able to keep 99% of searches spam-free in 2021.

    As ever, websites should follow best practice guidance and steer clear of ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, such as keyword stuffing and product review manipulation, to avoid being penalised by Google’s spam algorithms. Producing high-quality, relevant content for your customers will always be the best way to help improve your search rankings. 

    Google Search Parameter Tool Officially Offline

    Back in March, Google announced it was going to retire the URL parameters tool, and this is the first month we can see it coming into effect. Google has now turned off support for the tool in Google Search Console. The decision was made by Google to turn off the tool due to the advancement in Google’s capabilities to decipher which parameters are useful on a site. With only a minute number of parameter configurations specified in the parameter tool deemed useful for crawling purposes, the tool was deemed unnecessary. 

    Google has stated that ‘Google’s crawlers will learn how to deal with URL parameters automatically’ in the near future. We would suggest making a note of this update on your reports and keeping an eye on your analytics over the coming weeks just in case any issues arise from this change. 

     

    Significant Changes to Featured Snippets being Tested

    Google has started some testing that may provide a major shake-up of the featured snippets section on SERPs. Our SEO Team certainly has a lot to say about these two new features:

    ‘From the Web’: Traditionally, the featured snippet shown at the top is a table, a list, or a snippet of text with a link to the webpage the content comes from. For text snippets, Google is now testing short excerpts from two to three other websites in the same section, with links to the sites added after the sites’ favicons. 

     

    ‘Other Sites Say’: Google is planning to group at least three different sites under a new ‘Other Sites Say’ section, which shares some resemblance with the established ‘People also ask’ section. Again, this will provide more exposure for brands, but equally will create more competition in the top-ranking results. 

      

    What could this mean for search?

    Sites that currently hold the featured snippet position for certain keywords could face a substantial loss of traffic as more competition enters position zero in SERPs. On the flip side, if you’re not currently featuring in any snippets, this update could increase your chances and improve traffic volume to your site. 

    It will be very interesting to see the impact of these tests on clickthrough rate (CTR) and visibility in the search results, and whether these updates are rolled out temporarily or permanently. One to keep an eye on!

    Google PaLM: The Future of Next Generation Search

    This month Google revealed a breakthrough in its efforts to create an AI architecture that can handle millions of different tasks by itself. Enter PaLM.

    What is PaLM?

    Google’s Pathways Language Model research (PaLM) is an AI architecture Google has been developing. PaLM can produce answers reflective of fluctuating contexts by learning how to efficiently solve millions of different tasks, including complex learning and reasoning. 

    What makes PaLM special?

    PaLM is a system worth recognising as it’s striving to combine the efforts of multiple existing AI systems, into a singular architecture. To achieve this, recent developments of the PaLM system have involved the scaling of the few-shot learning (FSL) process. This is a type of machine learning method that works with a limited training dataset, as opposed to deep machine learning, where an extensive amount of data needs to be manually input for the AI to learn each new ability. Essentially, FSL has the AI learning so it can make predictions based on a smaller dataset.

    Recently completed was the BIG-bench benchmark, where several tasks were designed to see how large language models, such as PaLM, responded. Of the 150 strong BIG-bench tasks (relating to reasoning, translation, and question answering), PaLM outperformed many of the current state-of-the-art models. There were many notable achievements on hundreds of language understanding and generation benchmarks, including: 

     

    • Enhanced reasoning abilities 
    • Explanation generation 
    • Inference Chaining

     

    This recent research shows PaLM delivers significant improvements compared to current AI systems and can even ‘outperform human benchmarks’ for certain elements of language processing and reasoning. However, humans still outperformed the new algorithm on 35% of tasks. So, whilst breakthroughs are being made, PaLM is not quite there yet. 

    What could this mean for search?

    Machine learning has a big impact on how search results are created, tailoring results more and more to the needs of the user. As PaLM seeks to consolidate all this machine learning into one AI system, the change to search may not be great. However, with capabilities in one place, it may mean Google can get an even greater understanding of the intent and needs of users when they use search engines. Either way, this is an update to keep an eye on.

    Did we miss any SEO news?

    Think we may have missed something worth exploring or if you have some thoughts you’d like to share on SEO developments? We’d love to hear from you! 

    Join the conversation and tweet us @upriseUPSEM, email us at hello@upriseup.co.uk, or simply send us a message through our contact page.

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