How To Optimize The Largest Contentful Paint & Rank Higher In Google

About this Article

Are you curious about what Largest Contentful Paint signifies and how it may impact the effectiveness of your UX and SEO? Go on reading! You’ll learn what LCP is, how to test it, and how its grade is affected by certain situations. Additionally, you’ll discover how to improve WordPress performance and repair a poor LCP score on desktop and mobile (Largest Contentful Paint longer than 2.5 or 4 s). Simply put everything is in English!


Definition of the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and Why it Matters?

The time it takes for the most significant element to become visible in the viewport is measured by the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), a Core Web Vital statistic. You won’t see practically anything on the page until the LCP loads. The LCP element is always above the fold, or at the top of the page, which is why.

LCP is typically a text or graphic block. But it may also be a cartoon or a video. The LCP component can vary between desktop and mobile platforms.

The biggest aspect, as you would have guessed, is the one that matters the most for perceived load speed and user experience.

Consider this: you won’t have a nice user experience if the page’s main component takes a long time to load. While you waited for the website to load, you would see an almost blank page. Even leaving the website is possible! A few more seconds might go a long way when you’re browsing.

Because of this, Google has added LCP to the Core Web Vitals metrics, which gauge how excellent your user experience is.

LCP went live recently in June as a component of the Page Experience Signal, a new ranking factor. Because of this, Largest Contentful Paint is important for giving a fantastic user experience as well as for enhancing your SEO performance.

LCP also contributes 25% of the overall PageSpeed Insights score. Your page speed grade will probably increase if you increase its performance.

LCP is currently one of the most significant performance metrics, to put it briefly.

The Ideal LCP Score

LCP should be less than or equal to 2.5 seconds to achieve a high score. The page will receive a green score and pass the test if this is the case.

The score “needs improvements” if LCP is between 2.5 and 4.0 s; you’ll receive an orange grade.

Let’s say that the LCP is longer than 4 seconds. If the score is “poor,” you should make the necessary corrections as soon as you can.


Now let’s look at How we may Locate the LCP Component.

The LCP element can be located and measured in a variety of ways using both lab and field data. The most popular equipment for LCP testing is listed below.

Lab Data tools:

  • Lighthouse
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • Chrome DevTools
  • WebPageTest
  • GTmetrix

Field Data tools:

  • PageSpeed Insights (if available)
  • Chrome User Experience Report (Field Data)
  • Search Console – Core Web Vitals report (Field Data)

In our article on PageSpeed Insights, we go into greater detail on the distinction between Lab and Field Data.

Let’s discuss PageSpeed Insights and Search Console, two of the simplest and most useful tools.

Using PageSpeed Insights to Assess and Identify LCP

The simplest method for measuring and locating the LCP element is PageSpeed Insights.

You will receive the LCP grade in the Lab Data and the Field Data after evaluating the URL’s website (if available). Additionally, you’ll receive PageSpeed advice to help you perform better.

Locate the “Largest Contentful Paint element” section under Diagnostics. The LCP element for the page you’re evaluating will become clear to you.

In order to make things clearer, let’s go over a few examples.

The Mobile LCP Example

We use the tool to test the page’s functionality, then we navigate to the Diagnostics section. The H1, or title of the blog post, is the LCP element.

An outstanding user experience will be provided by the page as long as the primary headline loads quickly.

Example of LCP from Desktop

Once more, we visit the Diagnostics Area and search for the LCP component. Unsurprisingly, LCP differs from mobile LCP. The LCP for desktops is quite different:

As a page-based tool, PageSpeed Insights, we advise you to do many tests for various pages.

You should also use the Search Console for a comprehensive analysis.

Finding LCP and Measuring It on Search Console

The Core Web Vitals report in Search Console allows you to evaluate the performance of your entire website and identify any problems.

Both performances will be accessible on PC and mobile:

When you access the report, you can see how each criteria is being met by the pages on your site: good, requires improvement, and poor.

Each Core Web Vital performance is grouped in the Search Console report according to status, issue kind, and URLs.

You might, for instance, have some URLs that aren’t working properly for LCP. If so, you may see “LCP issue: longer than 2.5 s (mobile)” in the report.

You can access the list of URLs that need to be corrected by clicking the entry that corresponds to that particular problem. While these URLs are merely examples, they can nonetheless help you understand what is happening.

Finding the URL pattern and continuing with the patching and validation will be rather simple.


What Affects LCP and Results in a Slow Score

Delayed server response times, render-blocking JavaScript and CSS, and slow resource load times are three variables that have an impact on LCP for WordPress sites.

Slow Response Times from Servers

The server receives a request from the browser, but it takes too long for it to provide the desired material. It takes some time for things to be rendered on your screen since the content isn’t delivered to the browser quickly enough. The outcome is a poor load time. It has an impact on the LCP score.

By lowering your Time to First Byte, utilising a CDN, and establishing third-party connections early, you can resolve the problem.

JavaScript and CSS that don’t Block Rendering

The material is obtained from the server after the browser submits a request. Right now, the content will be rendered by the browser and shown. Wait a minute.

To render any content, the browser must examine (or parse) the page’s HTML and convert it into the HTML structure of the page, which is represented by the DOM tree. The content will then be fully rendered and shown, barring any scripts or stylesheets that prevent HTML parsing. The render-blocking resources are these scripts and stylesheets.

This block causes a delay in the parsing. Once more, it takes some time until the content you requested loads. The LCP’s performance is once more impacted.

By delaying and deleting unnecessary JS files, you can resolve these problems. Not to worry! The next section contains all the information you require.

Timely Resource Loading

Other resources, such as photos, videos, and block-level components like HTML and CSS files, can potentially impede performance and degrade the user experience.

LCP has a connection to the page’s top elements, as you are already aware. And this problem only occurs when these files are presented above the fold and load slowly. As a result, LCP and loading time are once more impacted.

By enhancing pictures, minifying and compressing CSS, JS, and HTML files, and preloading crucial assets, you can control the time it takes for resources to load.

The LCP score is ultimately determined by how quickly the browser gets and displays the requested material.

Let’s examine each problem’s solution in greater detail.


How to Shorten the Largest Contentful Paint on Mobile and Desktop That Takes More Than 2.5 or 4 Seconds

The Largest Contentful Paint performance can be enhanced in the following methods, and the Search Console status “LCP issue: longer than 2.5s or LCP issue: longer than 4s” can be resolved from either a mobile device or a desktop computer.

🚀 You’ll find details on the performance impact of each idea, ranging from low to high. The greater the impact, the greater the likelihood that implementing that particular advice will result in an increase in the score for the Largest Contentful Paint.

Let’s have a look at them in detail:

1. Reduce the server response time and Time to First Byte

A slow server response time is one of the key causes of a poor LCP.

Examining the Time to First Byte will allow you to gauge the response time of your server (TTFB).

The browser requests a certain piece of material from the server each time you wish to view it. The first byte of material that the browser receives from the server is measured by the TTFB.

You can increase your server response time and LCP score by increasing your TTFB.

Please be aware that a good TTFB ought to be under 200 ms; you can immediately check this metric by running WebPageTest on the website for your URL.

1. Switch on Page Caching

By turning on page caching, after a page load for the first time, it will be saved as an HTML file on the server. The consequence is a quicker display of the content. It’s a quick and efficient technique to make TTFB better.

Additionally, you can pick one of the top WordPress hosting companies that offer server-level caching.

2. Select a quick Server Hosting Provider.

A quick hosting service can significantly improve performance. It might perhaps be time to improve your hosting package!

First and foremost, your hosting company ought to have servers close to most of your users. Data will be transferred more quickly the closer your users are to the server.

Additionally, you must pick the appropriate server host type. The fastest speed is guaranteed by a dedicated hosting server. Make your choice after considering the volume of traffic your website receives.

The following PageSpeed Insights recommendations will be taken care of by activating caching and selecting a quick host:

  • Reduction in server response times (TTFB)
  • Serve static content using a caching strategy that works well.

2. Postpone JavaScript

One of the primary reasons for a low LCP score is the use of render-blocking resources, such as JavaScript files.

The JavaScript files can be put off while you deal with the problem. To put it another way, you’ll modify the order in which the JS files are loaded.

Remember? If there are no blocking resources, the browser parses the HTML, creates the DOM tree, and then renders the page.

JavaScript is delayed so that the browser will only process and load the JS files after parsing the HTML and creating the DOM tree. Since there won’t be anything to impede it, rendering will go considerably more quickly, which will boost the LCP metric.

For the browser to recognise the resources to defer, you can add the defer attribute to the JavaScript scripts. The browser will continuously evaluate the HTML and create the DOM tree.

This option is available on the File optimization tab. In addition, if the defer functionality clashes with any file, you may easily prevent certain JS files from being deferred.

Even though the problems with render-blocking resources don’t end here, you can address the PSI suggestion to “Eliminate render-blocking resources” with a few clicks.

Now let’s discuss how to deal with render-blocking resources.

4. Eliminate Extra JavaScript

Removing unused JavaScript resources is another method for getting rid of render-blocking resources. Two reasons prevent their use:

  • On your website, they are no longer utilised. Despite still being in the code, they serve no use whatsoever.
  • They are not a part of the information that appears above the fold. As a result, they are not necessary for creating the DOM tree. But there is a reason why these files are there (e.g., Google Analytics tracking code).

The “Remove unused Javascript” portion of the PageSpeed report contains a list of the unused JS files:

In WordPress, there are two approaches to fixing this problem:

1. Only load the JavaScript files as necessary.

For instance, the files should only be loaded on sites that actually require them; otherwise, JS execution should be disabled. Plugins like Perfmatters and Assets Cleanup can help you with this aspect.

2. Postpone the JavaScript documents.

Once the user interacts for the first time, the JavaScript files will load (e.g., scrolling, clicking a button). The JS files won’t even be loaded if the user doesn’t interact with the page.

Even while not all of the scripts in the PageSpeed recommendation list can be properly delayed, by delaying JavaScript, the JS files won’t be recognised by Lighthouse or listed in the “Remove unneeded Javascript files” advice.

For instance, this PageSpeed Insights tip typically includes the Google Analytics tracking code. The Google Analytics JS file won’t be reported any longer if the JS files are delayed.

Notably, delaying JS files doesn’t necessarily address this PSI guideline. Nevertheless, it effectively addresses this PageSpeed assessment and raises your LCP score. So, knowing is beneficial for you.

So, how may JS resources be delayed? You have several choices.

Flying Scripts is a free plugin that can be used to delay JavaScript files.

As we have said, the specific PageSpeed advice will be addressed by deleting unnecessary Javascript files. Overall, your goals will be “Reducing javascript execution time” and “Eliminating render-blocking resources”.

Your LCP grade will increase again.

5. Improve Your Photographs

Another useful strategy to improve a low LCP score is image optimization.

Images are frequently the LCP component on desktop or mobile. You can increase the performance of the Largest Contentful Paint by decreasing their loading times.

Here’s how to resolve any performance problems with images.

Resize and compress your photos. You should compress the file without sacrificing quality. The loading time will be quicker the smaller the image’s dimension.

To be clear, desktop image optimization tools only optimise images at their original size. Your uploaded photographs on WordPress won’t be scaled. There are various image sizes in WordPress, as you may know. Nothing will be performance-optimized unless a suitable image optimization plugin is used.

You might utilise a programme like ImageOptim to optimise a few photos. Imagify, on the other hand, is the ideal choice if you want to bulk-optimize a lot of photographs and their thumbnails. Your photographs will be lighter without losing any of their quality. You’ll get a lot of time back!

Change the formats of your photographs. Google generally endorses the WebP format. And for this reason, all WordPress image optimizer plugins now have a WebP conversion option. JPEG 2000 and JPEG XR are two other formats to consider. These codecs aid in performance improvement and are smaller than JPEG, PNG, and GIF.

Make your photos responsive. Images shouldn’t be the same size on desktop and mobile devices. For instance, the mobile picture size should be medium if the desktop image size is huge.

According to the device, users can submit various picture sizes using page builders like Elementor. The importance of mobile scoring and image optimization for mobile devices cannot be overstated. Don’t undervalue how it will affect your LCP grade!

Lazy loading should not be used for the LCP element. Lazy-loading can decrease the LCP score, especially if the LCP element is an image and is lazy-loaded, even if it generally speeds up loading times. Therefore, displaying the LCP element directly in the HTML of the page rather than using lazy-load is a great strategy to increase the LCP score.

Use a fixed image rather than a slider. Due to the programming, sliders can be highly time-consuming to load. In contrast, a static image created using HTML code is smaller and quicker.

You may fix the following PageSpeed Insights audits by improving your images:

  • Serve pictures in modern formats.
  • correctly sized pictures
  • Clearly encrypt images
  • Keep your network payloads small.

6. Text File Compression

Additionally, text files containing HTML, CSS, or JavaScript resources should be compressed.

Compression is the process of “zipping” your data into a smaller, lighter format to make them load more quickly. The transfer between the browser and server will be speedier once you minimise their size. These resources can be loaded more quicker by the browser. LCP and load time will also increase.

You can make advantage of compression formats like Brotli and GZIP. On the one hand, the majority of hosts support GZIP. On the other hand, Brotli is more effective and is currently largely advised. In our blog post, we compare GZIP and Brotli in more detail.

Using a plugin, you may quickly enable GZIP compression on WordPress. You have a variety of options, ranging from the simple Enable Gzip Compression plugin to WP Rocket, which incorporates GZIP compression by default. Additionally, some hosts automatically enable GZIP compression.

In any case, you’ll answer the PageSpeed recommendation to “Enable text compression.”


Improve your LCP Score on WordPress right now

Now that you know why and how to use Largest Contentful Paint, you can optimise performance and user experience. Applying all these SEO strategies will improve your WordPress site’s LCP rating.

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