What is Largest Contentful Paint - Understanding in Simple Terms

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Largest Contentful Paint is a part of Google's core web vitals. Google has a set of measurements and metrics called Core Web Vitals, to help the web developers understand the page experience & user experience when they are on the website.

Core web vitals is a part of technical search engine optimization. Moreover, it is an important part of search engine optimization as it can help enhance the user experience. When a visitor has a good experience of the page there are more chances that they will convert.

Core web vitals consists of 3 metrics:

  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

Furthermore, core web vitals became a ranking factor in 2021. Hence, having good metrics of core web vitals can also increase your ranking on the SERP.

Learn about the what is Largest Contentful Paint, what causes bad LCP scores, how to fix for a better score & how LCP affects your website.

What is the Largest Contentful Paint?

Largest Contentful Paint is a metric that measures the time taken to load or render the largest content on the frame or viewport. In other words, LCP is the time taken by the browser to download the largest content on the web page and is ready to be interacted with.

The content can be an image, a video thumbnail, paragraph text blocks & background banners or images. Any content beyond the viewport or frame or screen is not calculated.

Why should you Measure LCP?

Measuring LCP is crucial to understanding page speed. It can be an important metric to understand how quickly can your page load & where can you optimize. LCP is measured in milliseconds.

How can you measure LCP?

You can measure LCP through various tools like:

  • PageSpeed Insight Tool
  • Chrome User Experience report
  • Google Lighthouse
  • Google Search Console
  • Web Extensions
  • Chrome Dev tools

It is important to achieve a good LCP score. It will result in a great user experience & better SERP rankings.

What is a Good LCP score?

A great LCP indicates a high-quality user experience, as does other user-centric Core Web Vitals. To keep your user on-site and immediately see the wanted material, Google wants the largest picture or text block to appear in less than 2.5 seconds.

What is Largest Contentful Paint

Users will see critical information faster if your LCP is lower. Publishers should aim for the Largest Contentful Paint Score of fewer than 2.5 seconds, which increases organic Google rankings and SEO.

It is the best-case scenario if your LCP is less than 2.5 seconds. Whereas, if the LCP score lies between 2.6 seconds & 4 seconds, then the website needs improvement. Finally, your LCP score is said poor if it is more than 4 seconds.

Also Read: What is Cumulative Layout Shift - Understanding in Simple Terms

Causes For Poor LCP

Large Content Size on the Page

The largest Contentful Paint score will be bad if there is content or media which is extremely large. Your website needs to be fast. Whenever there is a visitor click on your website, it should load instantly. As a result, the user experience enhances and the LCP score gets better.

If there are large sizes of content, the Largest Contentful Paint will increase as the content will load slow. As a result, your UX is bad which will affect your SERP ranking.

Response Time from Server is Slow

When the response time from the server is slow, it means that it takes a lot of time to receive the content for the browser. Furthermore, the content will be downloaded slowly and the page speed will also decrease. Overall, it creates a slow page load experience for a user on the page.

Hence, a faster server is required as it will significantly improve the load speed and improve the LCP Score.

You can use these suggestions while choosing a server:

  • Optimizing your server for the best performance
  • Using Local Content Delivery networks (CDNs)
  • Establishing third-party connections early
  • Caching the images, text, etc, together.

Lengthy & Heavy JavaScript & CSS

JavaScript & CSS are render-blocking assets. These assets delay the page from loading. If you have lengthy JavaScript or heavy CSS sheets, the page loading speed will decrease even more. This will affect your LCP score and Google Ranking.

This will also create an issue of lazy loading where the pages load slowly.

Block-level Elements can be used for LCP

Block-level elements can be used to measure LCP Scores. It can be anything from <main> or <section> to a heading, sub-heading, forms, etc. as long it is the largest.

Currently, SVG & video elements are excluded while measuring LCP.

LCP is pretty easy to locate. You can also spot it visually. You can go look through the web page and all you have to do is determine which is the largest content on the page.

You can then optimize this block-level element accordingly. You can optimize by making the image smaller or compressing it, or removing the element. You can optimise anything that prevents the content from downloading quickly.

How To Fix LCP?

Once you have your LCP score from any tool, you now need to optimize the content on the website to get the best out of it. How can you optimize to improve your LCP score? Read through to know the ways to fix it.

Ways to Improve LCP metric:

  1. Reduce the content size on the website. You can compress the content size to achieve a similar quality but at a smaller size. This will help in increasing the downloading speed of the content. Moreover, the page will load faster.
  2. Choosing a well-reputed server is extremely important. A server can determine the page loading speed which directly affects the page experience. Having a fast and local content delivery network can increase the rendering speed and load the LCP element much more quickly.
  3. You can minimize the CSS and shorten the JavaScript to get a faster load time. You can also move the heavy styling from your main page so that your main page does not get disturbed. Additionally, try minimalizing the code in JavaScript & remove any heavy styling. You can also try bundling the Script for it to download and execute quickly.
  4. Make the block-level elements smaller to reduce the size. Identify the largest element and optimize it to make it small. This largest element will then load quickly & LCP time will reduce.
  5. Reduce the time utilised by the third-party codes. Making sure that the third-party codes are short and have async or defer attributes in the code can increase the loading time.
  6. Reduce the main thread work. Reduce styling & tasks in the main thread. Move non-essential tasks out to a different thread so that the main thread works and loads faster.
  7. Make sure that the user gets only the essential information on the page. The only main content on the main page and moving all the non-essential objects out of the way can give you a good LCP metric.

All of these small fixes can significantly improve your largest contentful paint score, page experience, user experience & overall web performance.

Final Words

Core web vitals is one of the ranking factors of Google. Having good CWVs ensures that your website has a good page experience. LCP is an important core web vital metric which can tell us about the loading speed. It is a part of the search engine optimization technique which can benefit when done in the right way.

When you see that there is some optimization you can do, you should do it. However, SEO is a slow process but it gets you great results. You can get great organic results with SEO.

SEO is a part of digital marketing & digital marketing has become a necessity in this modern world. There are many careers in digital marketing. Thousands of jobs are created in this field in India every day. Hence, one should learn digital marketing and gain vast knowledge in this field.

Also Read: What is First Input Delay - Understanding in Simple Terms

Blog Post written by:
Digital Marketing Institute