From FID to INP: Understanding Google's Update to Core Web Vitals | GlowMetrics

Mar 26th 2024

Digital Marketing Insights

4 min read

Posted by Nicola Russell

From FID to INP: Understanding Google’s Update to Core Web Vitals

On 12th March 2024, Google announced a significant update to their user experience metrics, known as Core Web Vitals, by replacing First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint...

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On 12th March 2024, Google announced a significant update to their user experience metrics, known as Core Web Vitals, by replacing First Input Delay (FID) with Interaction to Next Paint (INP).

This move, part of Google’s broader initiative to enhance Page Experience, underscores its commitment to recommending lightning-fast websites to users in search engine results pages (SERPs). But before we dive into what this update means, let’s take a step back and look at what Core Web Vitals are all about.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

Core Web Vitals are Google’s benchmark for measuring page experience. Although they focus on factors like loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability, as you can see in the above illustration, Google also considers wider factors like pop-ups (interstitials), HTTP vs HTTPS, secure browsing and mobile friendliness.

Core Web Vitals Metrics

Since 2021, Google has integrated these Core Web Vitals into its search ranking algorithms, emphasising the importance of providing a positive and efficient user experience. Websites that perform well in terms of Core Web Vitals are more likely to rank higher in search engine results, leading to increased visibility and traffic.

Core Web Vital Metrics Explained

As Core Web Vitals have become integral to Google’s ranking algorithm, alongside high-quality content, and Google created 3 key metrics to help SEOs and webmasters measure their page experience:

1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures how quickly the main content of a webpage loads. It gives insight into the perceived loading speed of a page.

2. First Input Delay (FID): FID measures the time it takes for a webpage to become interactive. It evaluates users’ first interactions with a page, such as clicking a button or entering data into a form (this is the one Google are replacing!)

3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS quantifies the visual stability of a webpage’s layout by evaluating any unexpected shifts that occur during its loading process.

Core Web Vitals Reporting

 

So, What’s Changing?

In the most recent update to Core Web Vitals, Google is moving away from FID (First Input Delay) towards a new metric called INP (Interaction to Next Paint). Google Search Console will integrate INP into its reporting system, empowering SEOs (with the assistance of web developers) to monitor and optimise their INP scores effectively going forward

What is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?

First Input Delay (FID) measures how responsive a web page is to user interactions. It calculates the time between a user’s initial interaction (such as clicking a button) and the browser’s response to that action. In simple terms, FID assesses how fast a website reacts to user input.

‍On the other hand, Interaction to Next Paint (INP) measures how long it takes for a web page to become interactive after the initial page load. Rather than solely focusing on response delays, INP considers the time required to load essential interactive elements and scripts on the page. It uses data from the Event Timing API to evaluate not just the input delay but also processing and presentation delays to provide a more comprehensive assessment of webpage interactivity.

How to Measure INP and other Core Web Vitals Metrics?

As we navigate this transition, it’s crucial to assess your website’s current INP performance and implement optimisation strategies accordingly. Tools like PageSpeed Insights and Chrome’s User Experience Report are the best place to start this process, enabling tech-savvy SEOs, or web developers to diagnose issues such as long-running JavaScript tasks, minimising DOM, and reducing third-party code to improve responsiveness. You can also use your Google Search Console account which has built-in Core Web Vitals reports.

Google Search Console Core Web Vitals Report

 

INP’s Impact on SEO

Google clarifies that there are no direct penalties for a poor INP score, but its impact on SEO can be significant, affecting user engagement and potentially impacting SERP rankings. This emphasises the need to optimise websites for a seamless user experience beyond the initial page load, especially as Google prioritises user experience in ranking websites. Therefore, SEO clients must adapt and prioritise improvements in INP scores to meet the new criteria and ensure a satisfactory and responsive experience for users.

It’s important to remember that Core Web Vitals are just one aspect of website optimisation. While they provide valuable insights, they should complement a broader strategy aimed at delivering top-notch user experiences. Ultimately, the goal is not just to chase high INP, or Core Web Vital scores but to create websites that users enjoy engaging with.

If you’re curious about Core Web Vitals or need assistance with SEO, drop us a comment below, or reach out to us contact@glowmetrics.com. You can also follow us on @GlowMetrics or subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and news within the world of Digital Analytics and Marketing.

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GlowMetrics

Posted by
Nicola Russell

Nicola is the Digital Team Lead at GlowMetrics, preparing and executing PPC & SEO strategies for new and existing clients. Nicola specialises in integrated marketing campaigns, combining the best of paid social and paid search to get the finest of results for her clients
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