In June 2020 Google introduced its Core Web Vitals metrics as a means to measure and analyze speed, interactivity and stability of sites. Three main elements outline the composition of Core Web Vitals: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID) and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) Loading Performance Melbourne SEO
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Largest Contentful Paint is able to measure when the largest content element on your site becomes visible to the viewer. In doing so, it clearly identifies when the main content on the site has fully rendered itself. This rendering process to optimize user experience should occur within 2.5 seconds starting from the start of the loading time of the page.

Causes of poor LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) like: slow server responses, lagging loading times or client-side rendering can become barriers in meeting this 2.5 second loading goal.

To combat common causes of LCP, initiatives can be implemented to counteract hindrances:

Caching assets:

Caching assets is the process where your browser downloads an asset and deciphers whether to download that same asset again on future site visits. If browsers don’t specify a policy, defaults will cache that asset for the sessions. Retrieving data through more convenient methods enables faster running rates. Time to First Byte (TTFB) is an indicator to measure server responsiveness. Employing TTFB ascertains the duration between the user making an HTTP request, to the first byte retrieved on the user’s browser.  

Cloud providers like Microsoft Azure quicken server response time through caching assets. Loading response times then do not slow server loading time. Hence, providing an avenue that enhances server speed for optimal user experience.

Minify Cascading Style Sheets:

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a language which details the representation of a document written in HTML. Minifying or compressing CSS files comprised of comments approves these files’ removal. Any blocking CSS is reduced to improve the time taken in rendering main page content. Thereby, it allows for convenient and clear readability through effective measures. To achieve this, bundler tools like Parcel or Browserify for CSS take elements of JavaScript and group them in a singular file, most commonly for browser use. These tools then bundle, rebase and minify CSS files for modularization into separate bundles for their related groupings. Blocking time for CSS through the minification of CSS is henceforth reduced through compacting files to lower barriers to CSS blocking time.

CSS Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) SEO Melbourne
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Optimize and Compress Text and Images:

Before delving into the technicalities of image and text optimization, ascertain what images or texts are relevant. Doing so filters out larger files that would hinder the loading speed of a site. With your selected images, convert and upload them in JPEG or WebP formats. Compressing images in this format decreases loading time to immediately speed LCP.

For text files, compression algorithms like Brotli aim to reduce statistical data volumes on web servers and content delivery systems. Decreasing delivery size through compressed text and image files minimizes LCP via faster resource load times. 

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Pre-Rendering:

Frameworks like React provide a convenient way to build single-page applications that manage elements of a site on the client. Client-side rendered site elements comprising of a large JavaScript bundle prevents users from content interaction until the JavaScript has completed its download. Here, optimizations do not prevent impacts upon LCP. 

Considering Pre-Rendering in relation to client-side rendering uses a headless browser to produce static HTML files of routes needed for the site – bundled with JavaScript. Time to Interactive (TTI) may be negatively impacted, but server response times are not as heavily affected if server-side rendering was implemented instead. Rendering pages still optimizes LCP through this method, but only after the user requests the page.

Rendering Largest Contentful Paint SEO Company Melbourne
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Optimizing LCP can rank your site higher in Google searches whilst providing a clear and effective user experience. 

If you have queries regarding Core Web Vitals, or are interested in ethical white hat SEO services feel free to contact us at SEO Melbourne.

Related Articles:

Core Web Vitals: Google’s New Ranking Signal

Reducing Page Loading Times

Evie Filippis

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