When web content is “above the fold,” it is positioned high enough on a page such that users don’t have to scroll down to view it. For marketing purposes, placing important information above the fold increases the likelihood that site visitors or searchers will see what a business most wants them to see – and valuable information up front might also encourage visitors to scroll down.

Above the Search Fold

One place where “above the fold” content comes into play is on search engine results pages (SERPs). For instance, in organic search, usually the paid ads at the top of the page and the top three or four organic results sit above the fold (which contributes to the value of SEO in terms of gaining online visibility).

These listings are above the fold:

This is a screenshot depicting search results "above the fold", or the content before the edge of your browser's viewport.

Meanwhile, a user has to scroll down to see these listings:

This is a screen capture of search results below the browser's initial viewport, or "below the fold."

Other Above the Fold Content: Emails and Websites

Above the fold placement is also relevant to email marketing and website content marketing. Traditional theory maintains that people will engage content above the fold and then decide whether or not to scroll down. Placing valuable information/links at the start of marketing messages helps ensure these elements are above the email fold and might garner more clicks. Similarly, marketers can benefit from placing important information toward the top of landing pages and in teasers for blogs, news pages or articles to inspire people to read on. This practice might also help reduce bounce rates.

Where “Above the Fold” Falls

Depending on users’ screen sizes, content that falls above or below the fold will vary. The most common screen resolutions as of January 2011 are 1024×768 and higher, according to w3schools.com. Below, you can see Brafton.com visitors’ screen resolutions from Google Analytics over the past 10 months:

A screenshot of a chart on Google Analytics, showing the distribution of browser screen resolutions of Brafton.com visitors.

Marketers on the fold line in search results can simply work to improve their SEO, and when it comes to on-site content, the best bet is to include the valuable info up front.