Google is Introducing Next Paint to Core Web Vitals: Important Update this Tuesday

Google is rolling out an important update to its Core Web Vitals this Tuesday. The update will replace the First Input Delay (FID) metric with Interaction to Next Paint (INP) as a Core Web Vitals metric. This change is unrelated to the ongoing March 2024 Google Core update, so there is no need to worry about any correlation between the two.

INP is a metric that measures the responsiveness of a webpage using data from the Event Timing API. It assesses how quickly a page responds to user interactions. If a page becomes unresponsive after an interaction, it leads to a poor user experience. INP observes the latency of all interactions a user has made with the page and reports a single value where most interactions were below.

To illustrate the difference between poor and good responsiveness, Google provides an example. In the poor responsiveness scenario, long tasks block the accordion from opening, causing the user to click multiple times. When the main thread catches up, it processes the delayed inputs, resulting in the accordion opening and closing unexpectedly.

Google will replace the FID metric with the INP metric as part of the Core Web Vitals on March 12, 2024. The Google Search Console report will stop showing FID metrics and use INP going forward. INP will also be included in the Core Web Vitals report later this year, allowing website owners to measure their new INP scores.

This change will likely shift the focus of many SEOs from FID to INP. Google has provided a guide on how to optimize for INP, and they added the new INP reports to Search Console last year, giving website owners time to prepare for this change.

However, it is important not to get too caught up in these metrics. Google themselves state that they are just one aspect to consider when improving a site’s page experience. While they are useful indicators, they should not be the sole focus.

It is worth noting that the release of the March 2024 core update at the same time as the Core Web Vitals changes may cause confusion among SEOs and site owners. If there is a drastic drop in rankings in the next few weeks, it is likely related to the core update or spam update and not the Core Web Vitals metric change.

Ultimately, website owners should focus on creating excellent sites for their users and not obsess over these scores. They can use their INP score to identify any quick improvements that can be made, but it is not necessary to rely solely on third-party tools for this information.

In conclusion, Google’s upcoming update to its Core Web Vitals is an important change that website owners and SEOs should be aware of. The replacement of FID with INP as a metric emphasizes the importance of responsiveness in providing a good user experience. However, it is crucial to remember that these metrics are just one part of the overall page experience and should not be the sole focus.

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