The amount of time it takes for a page’s content to be rendered is an important aspect of the User Experience. However, although it is wonderful to create sites that load swiftly in general, visitors don’t expect all of the content to load at the same time.
Users should see the largest element in the viewport first to begin their trip across the page on most websites. As a result, Google has named Largest Contentful Paint one of the Page Experience criteria, and it is one of the most important metrics that webmasters should not take for granted.
What is LCP?
The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a Core Web Vital statistic that quantifies the time needed for the largest element in the viewport to be displayed. Users won’t be able to see anything on the website until the LCP loads. The reason for this is that the LCP element is always above the fold.
Images, iframes, videos, hero images, background images, and block-level text elements like paragraph tags are common components that are assessed.
The biggest component, as you might expect, is the most important for the user’s experience and overall site speed. A website’s user experience will be poor if the page’s most important piece does not load quickly. Users would stare at a nearly blank page while waiting for it to load and if it takes too long, they will eventually the site. A few seconds may make a tremendous difference when browsing.
Hence, LCP has been included in Google’s Core Web Vitals indicators, which measure how well a website’s user experience is.
LCP was launched in June as part of the Page Experience Signal, a new ranking indicator. As a result, not only does Largest Contentful Paint important for creating a wonderful user experience, but it also counts for enhancing a site’s SEO success.
Furthermore, LCP contributes 25% to the entire PageSpeed Insights grade. A website can most likely increase its PageSpeed score by boosting its performance. LCP is, in a nutshell, one of the most significant performance measures of today.
What is the recommended LCP score?
Since LCP evaluates rendering time, a lower score is ideal, as this will mean that users are able to view the most important content of a website in just a few seconds. Having stated that, Google has set the following LCP score guide:
- Good – LCP of 2.5s or less,
- Needs improvement – LCP between 2.5s and 4s,
- Poor – LCP of 4s or more.
Therefore, if a website intends to ace the Core Web Vitals, it needs an LCP score of 2.5 or less for 75% of all the website’s pages.
How does LCP affect SEO ranking?
This measure is considered by Google to be an important element of Core Web Vitals. As a result, Largest Contentful Paint is an essential factor that the algorithms assess, and websites must get a high score in it.
Google has spent the last several years focusing on developing assessment factors to improve the user experience, all of which include Core Web Vitals. LCP impacts how Google evaluates and indexes a site on the search results since it is connected to page loading speed.
User experience is both a distinctive and critical criteria for sites to be found on the internet. That is why good content, appealing goods, and smart design are insufficient. Page loading speed is not only beneficial to users, but it also assures that the material will be well ranked by Google.
In mobile search, LCP is now utilized as a minor ranking factor with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) and First Input Delay (FID).
More significantly, achieving the suggested scores for these three indicators will decide if a badge is displayed beside your site in search results, which will almost certainly affect a website’s clickthrough rate.
What are the tools in measuring LCP?
You may quantify your site’s LCP using both lab and field data, and both forms of data have its uses.
You may monitor your LCP calculated in a lab using these tools:
However, it is highly advised to look at Google’s Real User Data because it is the data that is utilized to influence your rankings.
Chrome User Experience Report stores the Real User Data obtained by Chrome users (CrUX).
Data from CrUX may be accessible using the following methods:
How can LCP be optimized?
It is feasible to boost and optimize Largest Contentful Paint. Monitoring is an important part of the process, but progress leads to outcomes. It is also critical to incorporate a number of evaluations in your everyday tasks, and some of the most important ones are listed here.
Image sizes should be optimized
Always use photos that are the correct size. Depending on whether you’re using a desktop or mobile version, your hosting provider will recommend particular dimensions. Overloading, which might result in a high LCP, is avoided by using the specified size.
Make use of a CDN for images
A CDN service helps speed up the loading of pictures. With a CDN, website files are stored in servers located in multiple locations around the globe for easier access. As a result, a browser will not need to request the content from the main server if there is a copy of it located in a nearer CDN server.
Assets need to be cached
Caching can save a lot of loading time especially for static HTML website that does not need to update with each visit. Server-side caching improves site speed and reduces resource use by keeping a copy of the produced HTML on disk.
CSS should be minified
CSS files can include characters like space, indentation, and comments to make them easier to read. All of these extra characters are superfluous for the browser, and by minifying these assets, they will be simplified. At the end of the day, minimizing the amount of blocking CSS will always reduce the time required to completely display the page’s largest content.
Essential files should be preloaded
Choose a reliable web hosting service
The speed with which pages load is also influenced by your hosting service. As a result, look for the one with a strong brand value. Most importantly, choose the one that provides enough infrastructure for the amount of traffic to your site.
The Largest Contentful Paint metric is a seemingly basic but efficient method used to determine the time it takes for the most important content to be visible in the user’s viewport. Together with all of the other indicators, Google is coming closer to a standardized, universal method of assessing web speed while taking user experience into top consideration.