In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, Google is set to make a significant change. On March 12, 2024, Google will transition from First Input Delay (FID) to Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a Core Web Vitals metric. This shift has been on the horizon, and now we have a definitive date.
Google made it official on its Web.dev blog, stating, “Today, we’re announcing that INP will officially become a Core Web Vital and replace FID on March 12 of this year, and that FID will be deprecated in this transition.” This change underscores the importance of INP as a Core Web Vital, replacing FID.
What Is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?
INP is a metric that leverages data from the Event Timing API to evaluate a webpage’s responsiveness. When a user interaction causes a page to become unresponsive, it leads to a subpar user experience. INP measures the latency of all user interactions with the page and reports a single value, representing the threshold below which all (or nearly all) interactions occurred.
The Impact of Poor vs. Good Responsiveness
Google provided an example to illustrate the difference between poor and good responsiveness. In the case of poor responsiveness, long tasks prevent the accordion from opening, leading the user to click multiple times under the impression that the experience is broken. When the main thread finally catches up, it processes the delayed inputs, causing the accordion to open and close unexpectedly.
The Change Ahead
As part of the Core Web Vitals, Google will replace the FID metric with the INP metric on March 12, 2024. Google Search Console will incorporate INP into the Core Web Vitals report later this year, enabling you to start measuring your new INP scores. Once INP replaces FID in March, the Google Search Console report will cease displaying FID metrics and use INP moving forward.
Why a Shift From FID to INP Matters
The shift from FID to INP fundamentally changes how we measure user experience. INP provides a more comprehensive view of webpage responsiveness. With Google incorporating INP into the Core Web Vitals report, we have a new tool to measure and improve site performance. However, a well-optimized website involves various factors, and keeping a holistic view of site optimization is crucial. This shift challenges us to learn, adapt, and optimize, keeping our sites competitive in the evolving digital landscape.
What Is a Good INP Score?
According to Google, to deliver user experiences with good responsiveness, it’s advisable to measure the 75th percentile of page loads recorded in the field, segmented across mobile and desktop devices:
- An INP at or below 200 milliseconds indicates that your page has good responsiveness.
- An INP above 200 milliseconds and at or below 500 milliseconds suggests your page’s responsiveness needs improvement.
- An INP above 500 milliseconds signifies that your page has poor responsiveness.
Understanding these thresholds can help you optimize your website’s performance and enhance the user experience. Remember, a well-optimized website is vital to staying competitive in the digital landscape.
How to Optimize for INP
Optimizing for INP involves addressing several areas:
- Input delay: Optimizing input delay can improve responsiveness if interactions take a long time to begin processing.
- Large DOMs: Interactions often change the DOM, and large DOMs can require much rendering work. It’s best to avoid large, complex layouts and layout thrashing and minimize DOM size where possible.
- Reduce Complex CSS: Complex CSS selectors can cause considerable work in response to user interactions.
How to Prepare for the Transition
The first step in this transition is determining if your website’s INP passes the “good” threshold. Tools like PageSpeed Insights, which surfaces data from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), can help you assess your website’s INP performance. If your website’s INP falls into the “needs improvement” or “poor” category, resources are available to help you further improve it.
Boost Your SEO With Boston Web Marketing
At Boston Web Marketing, we can help you navigate these updates. Our team of SEO experts understands the intricacies of these metrics and can help your business adapt to the new INP standard. We offer a range of tailored SEO strategies and services to help your website become more responsive and user-friendly and rank higher on search engines.
Refrain from letting the shift to INP catch you off guard. Contact Boston Web Marketing today at 857.526.0096 or fill out our online inquiry form to see how we can help your business stay competitive in the evolving SEO world. Let’s embrace the future of SEO together.