INP Interaction to Next Paint, New Core Web Vital Metric

How to Prepare for Google’s New Core Web Vitals Metric: INP (Interaction to Next Paint)

Google really puts a lot of effort into enhancing user experience in several ways. They have come up with a new way to measure how fast a page reacts when you take some action on it. It’s called Interaction to Next Paint (INP). This term simply means how quickly a page responds when you click or tap something. This speediness is super important for making sure users have a good time using your site.

Last year’s Core Web Vitals update showed us how much Google values user experience. People were buzzing about whether INP would take over from FID (First Input Delay) in the Core Web Vitals lineup. Well, in May 2023, Google made it official: INP is stepping up to the plate, starting March 2024, to track how fast websites respond.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the latest Google’s Core Web Vitals update INP, why it matters, and how you can prepare your website to excel in Google’s new ranking system.

 

What Are Core Web Vitals & What’s New?

Core Web Vitals metrics, or CWV for short, basically involve three metrics that measure how good the user experience is on a website. Back in 2021, Google made these metrics a ranking factor in their search algorithm. The three CWV metrics look at different aspects of the user experience, and they are:

Largest Contentful Paint

It checks how fast the main content on a page loads up for users. Nobody likes staring at a blank screen, right?

Cumulative Layout Shift

It looks at whether the page layout keeps shifting around after it’s loaded. Annoying when things keep moving as you try to read or click!

First Input Delay

It measures how quickly the web page responds when you try to interact with it, like clicking a button. Lag kills the experience.

Now, Google has opted for more updates in March 2024. They have replaced the First Input Delay with something called Interaction to Next Paint or INP.

INP focuses more on how responsive a page feels overall when you’re using it, not just that initial delay. That makes sense, doesn’t it? A sluggish page is no good experience after all!

 

What is Interaction To Next Paint or INP?

Let’s understand what INP or Interaction to Next Paint is in brief. This Google metric gives you insight into how long visitors wait for stuff to happen on your website after they’ve clicked or tapped something.

So, here is how the INP works. INP clocks the time between when a user does something (like clicking a button) and when the website actually shows the changes. So, if there’s a lag of, say, half a second before the web page updates, that’s your INP value – 500 milliseconds.

 

Why Does INP Matter?

Before we try to prepare your site for INP, let us get into deeper of why INP is important for your website. Here are the answers to the why-s:

  • First off, users need clear feedback on everything happening on your site. Think about it, if someone has to click a menu a bunch of times just to get it to work, that’s not a great user experience.
  • Again, if users have to keep entering info over and over again, they might give up and ditch your site – especially if it’s an online store and they’re worried about paying multiple times.
  • And here is another good reason, INP is part of Google’s Core Web Vitals now. So, if you want Google to give your page a thumbs up, you’ll want to make sure it’s INP-friendly.

The above reasons might be enough to convince you of the importance of INP. Now let us prepare your site for INP.

 

How to Prepare for the New CWV Metric or INP

Since INP has joined the ranks of Core Web Vitals, it means that websites need to step up their game when it comes to user interaction, especially beyond the initial site load. Now, to improve INP, you first need a baseline, and gathering data on it is not easy. Unlike other metrics, INP thrives on field data. So, tools like Google Lighthouse won’t cut it here.

To get that real-deal data, you will want to enlist the help of a RUM provider. RUM provider collects performance stats from actual browsers, keeping it all anonymous and safe, with no personal info involved. Once you’ve got your RUM provider up and running, it’s time to dive into that INP data. You’ll figure out which pages need a little extra care in the interactivity department.

To make it easier for you, here is a comprehensive list of tips that you can follow to improve INP:

  1. First off, figure out all the ways users interact with your site – like clicking, scrolling, or filling out forms. Keep track of all user actions like clicks or scrolls and measure how long it takes for each action.
  2. Test this input delay across different devices – desktops, phones, tablets – to see if it varies.
  3. Keep measuring over several days, using different devices and internet connections each time.
  4. Once you’ve got some solid data, team up with your tech team to make things faster. They can tweak event handlers and fix any network hiccups.
  5. If you don’t have tech wizards on hand, consider using AMP, a tool designed for speedy performance.
  6. After making changes, measure again and keep tweaking until your input delay is consistently speedy.

 

What To Do To Improve Your INP Score?

So, now that the initial step to prepare for INP is done, let us understand how you can make your pages ace the INP test. But, first, you must know what makes a good INP score.

Google’s guidelines suggest that an INP score is considered good if it’s at or under 200 milliseconds. Anything clocking in at 500 milliseconds or higher is marked as a poor score. Here are some tricks to try:

  • Get some handy software tools and browser extensions. There are tons out there to help you nail that INP score. Google’s Web Vitals extension is a must-have and will be even more crucial once INP becomes a full Web Vitals deal.
  • Tackle your JavaScript. It is often the cause behind high INP. If your site has got loads of interactive bits, chances are that it is because of JavaScript.
  • Interact with your hosting provider. If you’re using platforms like Squarespace or Wix, check if they’re INP-ready. They’ve probably already got things sorted, but it’s always good to double-check.

 

Conclusion

Google’s new INP update might seem daunting, especially if your site’s packed with interactive elements. But fear not! With the right game plan, you can retain the responsiveness of your site. Now that you have learned the importance of INP and how you can prepare and set up your site for INP, the new update might turn out to be in favor of your site’s success.

If you want to stay competitive in the SEO game and looking for a helping hand, Dignitas Digital is always there to help you out with improving your pagespeed performance. All you need to do is call us at 267-546-4123 and connect with our experts.

Alternatively, request someone from our team to get in touch with you.

 

Dignitas Digital