James Carr

Hello and welcome to the latest article from Coast Digital’s resident Core Web Vitals (CWV) bore. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, here I am. Fuelled by a never-ending desire to see the web running at top speed.

It has been a little over two years since Google launched Core Web Vitals, and everyone involved with SEO (or who has been at a party with an SEO Specialist) knows about the three metrics CWV is built around (if you don’t, check out this article about CWV).

However, in March 2024, First Input Delay (FID) will be replaced with the new Interaction to Next Paint (INP). Keep reading to learn more!

What is INP?

To fully understand what INP aims to do, we need to take a step back and make sure we understand what FID measures. Let’s look at Google’s own definition:

“FID measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page (that is, when they click a link, tap on a button, or use a custom, JavaScript-powered control) to the time when the browser is actually able to begin processing event handlers in response to that interaction.”

The clue around why FID is being replaced is in its name: FIRST input delay. It only reports on the first time a user interacts with the page, which may not be representative of other interactions on the page. It also only measures the input delay, which is how long the browser had to wait before it could handle the interaction.

INP aims to measure ALL interactions with the page, and not unlike Largest Contentful Paint, will report the slowest result across a page, but also measure the entire time between each interaction, the wait time, and up until the point when the browser has managed to paint the next frame (hence Interaction to Next Paint).

It all adds up to create a much more accurate view of how the website is performing in the real world and offer opportunities to improve your user experience.

What do we need to do?

That’s a very good question and one that I’m working on answering myself. Google Search Console already includes an indication of INP performance within the standard Core Web Vitals report, so there’s plenty of time to assess your site before the metric is added.

As for improving INP to ensure your site passes the threshold, how you do so will largely depend on where your INP is being seen, which is a topic all of its own! We’ll get our SEO team on the case and bring you some real-world examples in the very near future. Watch this space!

What shall we do in the meantime?

With only around 40% of websites meeting the current Core Web Vitals, it’s clear that there is still work to be done across the web. The best thing you can do to prepare for the switchover from FIP to INP is to make sure your site is already in as strong a position as possible.

If you would like help optimising your site for Google Core Web Vitals, or you would like to see what other SEO services we offer, get in touch with our experts.

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