Improving Website Speed and SEO with DebugBear’s Core Web Vitals Guide

Maintaining Rapid Response Times for Optimal User Experience and SEO

Upholding a speedy website is fundamental for a positive user experience and for the optimization of search engines. The Core Web Vitals initiative by Google offers a range of metrics to help you grasp and evaluate your website’s performance. This evaluation includes factors such as the speed of website response to user interactions and the readiness of your web page to display visual updates, among others.

Core Web Vitals

Understanding the INP Metric

The ensuing discussion directs its attention to the recently introduced INP (Interaction to Next Paint) metric and explores ways by which you can enhance it.

Measuring Interaction to Next Paint

The INP metric gauges the responsiveness of your website to user interactions, such as clicking a button. It specifically measures the duration in milliseconds between the user input and the readiness of the browser to display any visual updates on the page. For your website to achieve a “Good” score, it should complete this process within 200 milliseconds. A duration above half a second is considered “Poor”. Bear in mind that low scores in any of the Core Web Vitals metrics could negatively affect your search engine rankings.

Impact on search engine rankings.

Google collects INP data directly from actual visitors to your site through the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). Therefore, the CrUX data significantly affects your website’s ranking.

Chrome User Experience Report

Identifying and Solving Slow INP Times

The elements leading to unsatisfactory INP times can be intricate and challenging to discern. Nevertheless, this guide offers a step-by-step exploration to help you understand slow interactions on your site and identify potential optimizations.

Identifying a Page with Slow INP Times

Various pages on your website will possess different Core Web Vitals scores, so it’s important to identify which pages perform slowly. Google Search Console provides an effective way to assess your INP scores. The data reported in the console is based on the Google CrUX data.

Core Web Vitals section

Google Search Console

Using a Real-User Monitoring (RUM) Service

Google may not report Core Web Vitals data for every web page on your site, and it only supplies the raw measurements without any explanation. Consequently, it would be beneficial to use a real-user monitoring tool such as DebugBear. This kind of tool measures how quickly your website responds to your visitors by installing an analytics snippet on your site. It provides an Interaction to Next Paint dashboard that enables you to identify the pages you want to optimize, focus on a specific page, and gain key insights from user-centric data.

Real-user monitoring tool

Understanding Slow Element Interactions

Different visitors on the same page will likely have varying experiences. Much depends on how they interact with the page: for example, a clickable background image usually poses no risk of freezing the page, but clicking a button that initiates a heavy process is more probable to do so. Analyzing the RUM data can provide useful insights into how the page elements respond to users’ interactions.

Indentifying Slow INP Components

Slow INP times can be broken down into three distinct components: input delay, processing time, and presentation delay. Identifying the main contributor to the slow INP time is crucial during your investigation process. Checking scripts that contribute to a slow interaction can also provide useful information for website optimization, as most websites involve both first-party and third-party scripts. If you discover that your INP delays occur mainly due to third-party scripts, for instance, you may need to explore ways of optimizing these scripts.

Three different components

Investigating High Input Delay

In many cases, a high proportion of the INP time is spent executing code in response to an interaction. At other times, however, the browser may already be busy running other code when a user interaction occurs. In such cases, a high input delay value may be observed for various reasons, such as the page is still loading or new content is rendering. When investigating high input delay, it is important to understand the INP components breakdown.

Investigating High Presentation Delay

Dealing with presentation delay can be more challenging than addressing input delay or processing time due to potential browser behavior rather than a specific script. However, the first step to address this issue is identifying a specific page and a specific interaction. In most cases, there are ways to resolve these issues such as delaying processing, indicating to the user that the processing will take some time, and then completing the delayed processing subsequently, thereby improving the INP score.

Importance of Data in Improving Interaction to Next Paint

Setting up real user monitoring can substantially assist in understanding how users experience your site and what improvements can be effected.

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Moreover, Google’s CrUX data is collated over a 28-day period. Therefore, it may take some time before you notice a regression. But with real-user monitoring, you can immediately see the effects of website changes and automatically get alerted when a notable change occurs. DebugBear monitors lab data, CrUX data, and real user data, giving you access to all the information necessary to optimize your Core Web Vitals in one place.

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