Measures the time it takes for a web page's main content to load...

Is your website taking too long to load, causing you to lose traffic? You most likely need to address some LCP issues.

The Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric measures the time it takes for a web page's main content to load.

Let us explain everything about LCP, how it is measured, why it is important for SEO, and how to optimize it.

What is the Largest contentful paint?

The largest Contentful Paint is one of the three essential web components. If you're wondering why we chose LCP as one of the three core web vitals to discuss, here's why.

According to Philip Walton, a Google executive, based on the public data from the Chrome User Experience Report, LCP is the metric that sites struggle with the most.

LCP is the time it takes for a page's primary content to load so that the user can begin interacting with it.

This parameter considers the largest block of content or image above the fold or within the user's field of view. Elements that appear after scrolling are not counted.

Furthermore, LCP only considers the loading time of specific elements, such as

  • Images
  • Video Thumbnails
  • Image Tags
  • Text, such as Headings, Paragraphs and Lists
  • Background Images with CSS

Why Is LCP Important for SEO?

Users are unlikely to wait for your page to complete loading. If your page takes too long to load, they will most likely abandon it. Google considers this to be a sign of poor user experience.

Furthermore, this user behavior results in a higher bounce rate for your website. Again, an increased bounce rate is a negative SEO signal.

Furthermore, a slower page loading speed, which influences LCP, can have an impact on your conversion rate and overall traffic flow. That has the potential to reduce your business's ROI, which is obviously the last thing you want for your company.

Let us give you a concrete example.

Google released an analysis of the Renault Group's conversion rates after adjusting one performance metric, Largest Contentful Paint, in 2021. (LCP). Their findings were astounding: a three-second increase in wait times reduced conversion rates by 50%.

All of this being said, if you want your website to gain more online visibility and rank higher in search results, you must optimize LCP. Yes, the Largest Content Paint is crucial.

How Do You Calculate LCP?

Before you can learn how to optimize LCP, you must first determine your website's current LCP score. This way, you'll be able to determine how much effort you'll need to put in to optimize your LCP.

LCP can be measured using both field and laboratory tools. So, what's the distinction?

Field tools provide accurate measurements of the target site. Based on a simulated crawl and algorithms that estimate the internet conditions that a mobile user is likely to encounter, lab tools generate a virtual score.

To begin, let us list the Field tools available for calculating LCP.

The PageSpeed Insights tool can be used to determine the LCP of your website.

The tool will display the LCP score of your website for desktop and mobile devices. Aside from LCP, the tool also displays your scores for other web vitals such as First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) (CLS).

Alternatively, you can use the Google Search Console's Core Web Vitals report to determine your site's LCP.

You can also use the Chrome user experience report to calculate LCP. However, we recommend using the first two methods because they are simpler.

Let's get started with the lab tools to measure LCP.

  • Chrome DevTools
  • Lighthouse

Chrome Dev Tools and Lighthouse are provided by Google.

What Is an Appropriate LCP Score?

Okay. You now understand how to calculate the LCP score of your website. But how do you know if you have a good LCP score or how close you are to one?

To get good LCP, Google recommends that the main content of your page load within 2.5 seconds of a user visiting it.

That is, Google will consider your page to be a good page-loading experience if it loads in less than 2.5 seconds for at least 75% of visitors.

On the other hand, if your page loads in less than 4 seconds, it indicates that your LCP needs to be improved. Furthermore, it indicates a poor LCP if it exceeds 4 seconds.

To get your LCP to the 75th percentile, focus on optimizing your site to provide a good user experience.

The lower the LCP time, typically, the higher the score and the better it is for your website's SEO.

How Can LCP Be Improved?

Let's move on to the most crucial portion of it now. Maintain your LCP if it is effective. On the other hand, if your LCP needs to be improved (which is usually the case), here's how you do it.

Image Optimization

Images, as previously stated, have an impact on your LCP. To get a good LCP score, you must ensure that your images are properly optimized.

Here are some techniques for optimizing your images.

  • Use different image sizes for your desktop and mobile versions.
  • Image compression (ensure image quality is not affected)
  • Use image formats that are supported.
  • Instead of GIFs, use videos.

Choose Your Website Design Carefully

Personalizing your website can help it stand out from the crowd. However, using Javascript and CSS to create your website's theme and content can slow down page loading time.

Choose a lighter website design that does not necessitate the inclusion of multiple plugins, especially above the fold. Make sure to remove any Javascript or CSS that is rendering-blocking.

After all, establishing a great feel and look doesn't always necessitate a flowery site design laden with graphics. You can do it with a lighter website, especially if you can prioritize what you need and don't need on your website.

Font Optimization

Certain fonts have larger files. What does this have to do with your website?

When you use such fonts on your site, the text elements on your page are likely to load slowly, causing the user to wait to view the primary content. That is precisely what causes poor LCP.

So, to ensure fast loading and a positive user experience, optimize your font style and size appropriately.

Resolve Lazy Loading Issues

Lazy loading is a technique in which a page avoids loading non-critical CSS and other resources during initial rendering in order to focus on loading content above the fold.

As a result, the content in the user's view loads quickly while the other resources load slowly. LCP can be supplemented by the lazy loading technique. However, certain issues with lazy loading can have a negative impact on your site's LCP score.

If your website, for example, relies on native lazy loading and all images (including the featured image) load slowly, it will receive a low LCP score.

This can also happen when using Javascript for lazy loading. Because the browser must execute the Javascript before rendering the image, the image will take some time to load.

So, how do you prevent lazy loading from having an impact on LCP?

Deactivate lazy loading for any main content that appears above the fold. By doing so, you instruct the browser to immediately load that section of the content for the user to view.

Select a Reliable Hosting Service

The page loading speed of your site is also affected by the server response time. Slow server response times are frequently caused by poor backend infrastructure, unoptimized API responses, and other factors.

If you want to avoid such issues, use a reputable hosting service. So, if you're using an untrustworthy hosting service for your website, make the switch to a reputable web hosting platform to improve page loading speed.

Final Thoughts

The largest Contentful Paint is the most difficult of the three core web vitals to achieve.

To improve your LCP, devote more of your page loading time to retrieving LCP elements and less time to other resources.

Remember that anything that prevents the LCP elements on your page from loading as quickly as possible is wasting time, contributing to a slower page loading time, and is in violation of good LCP.

Remove them and optimize your site to achieve a high LCP score to boost your SEO.

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