When it comes to digital marketing, the legal industry is particularly challenging to break into. Most areas of law are oversaturated, and bids on keywords like “attorney” or “lawyer” frequently cost north of $50. This leaves many law firms left focusing on search engine optimization, or SEO, but unfortunately even this isn’t a simple task. There are hundreds of components on your website that affect whether you show up on Google’s search results. A major ranking factor on your website is “the fold,” and whether your content is above the fold.
What Does “Above The Fold” Mean?
The fold is the first thing users will see when they find your website. The term originated back when newspapers were popular. Breaking stories would be printed “above the fold” so customers could see top stories as they passed newsstands. Nowadays the term has shifted to refer to digital content. It’s impossible to accurately measure how far the fold reaches—your site may render differently on unique browsers, monitors, or devices. Despite this, most web designers agree that a good rule of thumb for the fold’s pixel dimensions is 1000 x 600.
Why Does the Fold Matter?
It’s important to have high-quality content above the fold on most of your firm’s website for a couple of reasons. The first is simply for user experience. Let’s say someone searches “Qualifying for disability cancer Texas” and comes across your firm’s website. If the first thing they’re greeted by is a huge “Contact Us” form, they may leave the site to find something more helpful. Spamming users with forms and popups when they’re clearly seeking more information will make them leave your website and find a competing firm.
Google also wants you to have content above the fold. In 2012, Google released an algorithm update known as “Ads Above the Fold,” or the “Top Heavy” update. It penalized websites that had too many ads immediately visible when users entered a page. If you provide nothing but a form and your competitors have great content above the fold, it’s possible for them to outrank you on search engine result pages.
So, How Do You Sign Clients?
The reason why so many firms still use a large “Contact Us” or “Free Evaluation” form that takes up most of the fold is because these forms still convert very well. So what options are there when you need to remove that top form?
You can always have the form in a different location. Many firms choose to have a form off to the side instead of taking up the first half of a web page. You can also have a large form, but you could simply place it at the bottom of a page instead of the top. This will give the staff in charge of your content the opportunity to write compelling information as to why someone should work with your firm instead of relying on a Contact Us form to get cases through the door.
Finally, not every page has to have excellent content above the fold. For example, it wouldn’t make any sense for your contact page to have a wealth of text! Nor would it make sense for any landing pages for PPC campaigns to be missing a large Free Evaluation form. By using your best judgment and determining which pages require high-quality content and which were created simply for conversions, you can optimize your firm’s website for signing more clients.