Largest Contentful Paint - What Is It?

November 20, 2021 in SEO, WEB DESIGN| 5 min

Definition of Largest Cointentful Paint and Its Importance

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a user experience metric that Google introduced as a ranking factor as part of its Core Web Vitals. LCP is a measurement of how long it takes for the main content of your web page to load and its readiness for interaction by users. It determines when the largest content finished rendering in the browser on the web page. What is measured is the largest piece of image or content block in the viewport of users. The objects can include images, text or videos. Largest Contentful Paint does not measure and include anything below the viewport.

This performance metric helps identify how fast the content on your web page appears to its users. It does not indicate when the web page starts loading, instead it shows how long it takes for users to see the main content that they want to see. LCP is  a great way of understanding how fast the main content on the page loads and becomes visible for its users. It precisely measures how fast the web page is usable by its users.

The Document Object Model, commonly known as DOM loads the content on the web page in phases, this however can result in poor LCP results due to main content being loaded slowly than the rest. What is important for LCP metric is that largest content on your web page since it considers that piece as the most important information.

LCP indicates the largest element in the first frame of browser rendering. As more content is loaded, LCP metric updates itself, comparing it to the first frame that it initially measured. If the new element is larger than the first, LCP is updated accordingly. 

As a good rule of thumb, anything below 2.5 seconds is considered as a good score and anything above 4 seconds is a poor score. As a web designer, you want your main element of content to load under 2.5 seconds so your web page can offer a positive user experience to its users.

Additionally, LCP became an important ranking factors after the introduction of Google’s Core Web Vitals. Although content is an important factor, metrics such as LCP plays an important role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since its Google’s own performance metric, it should be taken seriously and optimized accordingly. Additionally, positive user experience is crucial to a website’s success and its ranking in search engine page results, therefore improvement on Largest Content Paint means higher rankings in SERPs.

How To Optimize Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

If your Largest Contentful Paint performance metric is in “poor” or “needs improvement” categories, there are few solutions that you can apply to improve it.

1. Use a Quality Hosting Service

Shared web servers offered by cheap hosting services or low quality services can reduce the speed of a website. Therefore, it is a good idea to invest in premium hosting that offers quality servers with high uptime times. A reliable web hosting service can improve the time it takes for browsers to get the data from the servers and have quality coding on the server-side of your website. Additionally using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) will put you ahead of your rivals in terms of performance.

2. Optimize Images

Using the right size of images is crucial for a website’s performance. Both mobile and desktop versions will be requiring different sizes, although a responsive design can help in this case, it’s still essential to optimize the images. By using the right sizing of the images and optimizing them, you ensure that you are avoiding overloading Largest Contentful Paint.

3. Reducing Web Page Size

The optimal web page size should be less than 1MB, however with many design elements and CSS coding, it’s quite a hard task to design a page that is alluring with interactive design. So the best practice in this case would be to reduce the page size as best as you can and most importantly, limiting its resources below 50 to avoid bloating and slow loading. 

Largest Contentful Paint is an important metric that provides positive feedback for user experience, website performance and SEO purposes. It should be one of the main elements that web designers and developers should focus on while designing a website. If used and improved correctly, LCP can improve both the user experience and SEO score of your website. 

To learn about how we optimize our websites to provide you with positive metrics, contact us.