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Google’s CWV Are Changing: FID is Out, INP is In

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What does this mean for your website optimization strategy?

As the number one search engine, with over 80% of market share, and the gateway to the internet for billions of users worldwide, Google serves as the primary source of information and online visibility. In fact, many companies, especially those within e-commerce, can see upwards of 50% of their web traffic coming from Google. Having an online presence has become paramount for business success, and the added importance of ranking highly on Google cannot be overstated. Securing top positions in Google search results is more than just a badge of honor; it’s a strategic imperative that directly impacts a company’s revenue-generating capabilities and growth trajectory. Moving up one spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs) will increase web traffic by 30.8% on average, and that’s often traffic you’re stealing from a competitor.

Businesses that rank prominently on Google enjoy a multitude of benefits, from increased website traffic and brand visibility to enhanced credibility, competitive advantage, and bottom-line business growth. But how do you get to the top?

The answer to this question is complex and ever-changing; however, one such path is by optimizing your website to pass Google’s Core Web Vitals (CWV). Google utilizes CWV as part of its search algorithm to assess the quality of web pages and determine their ranking in search results for a better search experience.

In this blog, we’ll explore what CWVs are, why they are important, and share details on changes to CWVs that require your immediate attention.

What are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

In May 2020, Google introduced Core Web Vitals which are a set of metrics used to measure what Google feels are the most important technical KPIs that influence user experience. The goal is to evaluate the speed, responsiveness, and visual loading of web pages. When first released, these metrics include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which evaluates page load speed based on how quickly the main content of a web page loads and is visible to users
  • First Input Delay (FID), which measures interactivity, specifically how long it takes for the site’s code to receive the first click the user makes and
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which assesses the visual stability of a site when there are sudden shifts or unexpected movements in the user’s screen.

Why are CWVs Important?

As stated previously, optimizing your Core Web Vitals (CWVs) not only enhances user experience but also yields numerous benefits for businesses. Google’s own research reveals that improving site speed directly impacts visibility and traffic on its search engine results pages (SERP) correlating with increased page views, higher conversion rates, and greater average order value. For example, a mere one-second enhancement in page load time can boost conversions by 8.4%.

In addition, case studies of global and local brands, including Vodafone, iCook, Tokopedia, and Redbus, further demonstrate a direct correlation between enhancing CWVs and various financial metrics. Notable examples include Vodafone’s 31% improvement in LCP leading to an 8% increase in sales, and iCook’s 15% improvement in CLS resulting in a 10% uplift in ad revenue. Similarly, Tokopedia’s 55% improvement in LCP correlated with a 23% increase in average session duration, while Redbus achieved an 80-100% rise in mobile conversion rates due to CWV enhancements. These results emphasize the tangible impact of optimizing CWVs on essential financial metrics, underscoring the vital role of CWVs in driving business growth and success. By aligning with Google’s user-centric priorities and leveraging CWVs to enhance site performance, businesses can derive not only improved search engine visibility but also increased revenue, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction. In other words, improving CWVs helps a business in general, not just on Google’s search results page.

What’s Changing with CWVs?

This year, Google is making its biggest change to CWVs since the initial rollout of CWVS in 2021. It is replacing FID with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) to better evaluate the quality of a webpage’s user experience.

INP is a critical component of the CWV framework that assesses a webpage’s responsiveness to user interactions. Unlike its predecessor, FID, which solely measures input responsiveness, INP evaluates the entire process of handling user interactions until the next visual change occurs on the screen. This comprehensive approach provides a more accurate representation of user-perceived responsiveness, making it a valuable metric for web optimization.

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Courtesy of web.dev

INP’s Impact on Web Optimization Strategy

The introduction of INP represents a significant shift in Google’s approach to evaluating web performance. By replacing FID with INP, Google aims to provide a more complete assessment of user experience, thereby incentivizing websites to prioritize responsiveness across all user interactions. However, this transition poses challenges for web developers and businesses accustomed to optimizing FID. Websites that previously passed CWV assessments based on FID may find themselves falling short with the introduction of INP.

Optimizing for INP

As INP emerges as a pivotal metric for web optimization, it’s essential for businesses to implement strategies to improve their scores. Optimizing for INP entails a multifaceted approach, addressing various factors that contribute to responsiveness and user experience. Some key optimization strategies include:

  • Minimizing JavaScript Execution: Optimizing JavaScript code to reduce execution times can significantly improve responsiveness and INP scores.
  • Optimizing Event Handlers: Streamlining event handling processes can enhance the responsiveness of user interactions, leading to better INP scores.
  • Prioritizing Critical Rendering Paths: Ensuring that critical rendering paths are optimized can minimize delays in rendering updates, contributing to improved user experience and INP scores.

By implementing these optimization strategies and staying abreast of Google’s evolving metrics, businesses can enhance their online presence, improve user satisfaction, and ultimately drive greater conversions.

Interaction to Next Paint interaction

Courtesy of web.dev

Edgio is Here to Help

Edgio provides valuable support for optimizing CWVs and navigating the transition from FID to INP. Real-time RUM (Real User Monitoring) feedback is pivotal in this process, enabling developers to fine-tune CWV based on actual user interactions rather than theoretical tests. Unlike tools from Google that take up to 30 days to fully reflect optimizations, Edgio RUM reports core web vitals changes in real-time speeding up the process of improving CWVs. Edgio also offers essential features such as built-in A/B testing and the ability to isolate problematic elements for Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), another crucial CWV metric.

Future proof your website with Edgio. Contact one of our experts today to get started.