Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a Google user experience metric that was added as part of the Page Experience Update in 2021. LCP is one of the three metrics that make up Core Web Vitals.

Google needs to make changes that improve the user experience, which also affects how sites are ranked. With this in mind, the company created a new metric: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP).

The main goal of this parameter is to make sure that people who visit websites are happy with what they find. This includes not only what is said, but also how it is said and how it is performed.

This post will talk about the LCP metric, what it is, and some other important things about it. We will talk about:

What is the Largest Contentful Paint?

Largest Contentful Paint is a metric that measures how long it takes a website to show the user the biggest piece of content that is finished and ready to be interacted with.

Google says that this metric only looks at the content above the fold, which is everything you can see without having to scroll.

Another important point has to do with the type of content being looked at. The metric only looks at how long it takes to load the things that matter to the user experience, which are:

  • Images.
  • Image tags.
  • Previews of videos.
  • Use CSS to add background images.
  • Paragraphs, headings, and lists are all types of text elements.

How Do You Measure LCP?

There are two ways to measure LCP:

  • Use a method called “field” to do it right on the site.
  • Through simulations of performance, which in this case are done by algorithms in the lab mode.

For each of these methods, there are different tools that make the work go faster and give more accurate measurements. You could start with the field method and then:

When it comes to lab tools, the best ones are:

  • DevTools for Chrome.
  • Lighthouse.
  • WebPageTest.

Since LCP is a Google-made metric, it is easy to find in all of these tools. It makes it possible to do a First Contentful Paint test when needed and, most importantly, to keep an eye on the results all the time.

How many Largest Contentful Paint points is a good score?

From what Google says: 

“For a good user experience, a website’s Largest Contentful Paint should take less than 2.5 seconds. The 75th percentile of page loads, broken down by mobile and desktop devices, is a good threshold to use to make sure you’re meeting this goal for most of your users.

largest-contentful-paint-lcp

So you should aim for a time of fewer than 2.5 seconds. But how do we get there?

To improve the LCP time of a page, you have to optimize the load time of each element.

Here are five ways that have been shown to work.

How to improve the largest contentful paint?

Most websites that have LCP problems can fix them in five ways:

Optimization of images, CSS, and JavaScript; faster server response time; limited and optimized rendering on the client side; preloading and reconnecting.

All of these help with other performance metrics like FCP, CLS, and TTI. Here we will discuss the most common way to improve (CLS).

Optimization of an image

Image optimization is a set of techniques that can improve all load metrics and reduce layout shifts (CLS).

1. Image compression

When you compress an image, you use different algorithms to remove or group together parts of it, which makes it smaller.

Lossy compression and lossless compression are the two types.

It takes out parts of the file’s data, making the image lighter and of lower quality. Lossy image types include JPEG and GIF.

Lossless compression keeps the image quality pretty much the same because it doesn’t lose any data. It makes images that are thick and of high quality. RAW and PNG images don’t lose any quality.

You have to try different things to find the best compression level for your site. There are a lot of great tools for the job, though:

If you know how to use command-line tools, you can use image in. If you don’t, tools like Optimizilla that are easy to use also do a great job.

2. How to Choose the Best Format

When choosing between different image formats, it can be hard to find a good balance between quality and speed.

Images with good quality weigh a lot but look great. Lower-res ones don’t look as good, but they load faster.

In some situations, you need high-resolution images to stand out from the crowd. sites for photography and fashion come to mind.

Lower-resolution images are fine for some sites, like news sites and personal blogs.

Which one you choose depends on your own needs. Again, you need to run tests to find out how much the quality of your images affects how your visitor’s act.

If you want a quick list of guidelines to follow, here they are:

  • Use SVG for images like logos that are made up of simple geometric shapes;
  • Try PNG when you want to keep the quality but slow things down a bit;
  • Use WebP and keep the original format as a backup since WebP isn’t supported by all browsers. This will give you the best balance between quality and user experience. At NitroPack, this is the plan we use.

Again, after choosing the type of image you want, don’t forget to try out different compression levels.

3. Use the attribute srcset

When working with images, it’s a common mistake to send the same large image to all different sizes of screen.

Large images look good on small screens, but they still need to be fully processed. That wastes a huge amount of bandwidth.

A better idea is to offer different sizes of images and let the browser decide which one to use based on the device. To do this, use the srcset attribute and tell it how wide each image you want to serve should be. Here’s what I mean:

As you can see, we use w instead of px with srcset. You have to write 600w if you want an image version to be 600px wide.

Again, this method lets the browser choose the size of the picture. You just have to give the choices.

4. Load images of the hero

This last tip is about making it easier for the browser to find hero images quickly.

Hero images are usually the most important things above the fold, so making sure they load quickly is important for the user experience.

The biggest image above the fold on the homepage of Forbes’s site is loaded ahead of time:

This method tells the browser to put that image first when it displays the page.

Summing Up:

We’ve talked about Largest Contentful Paint in this blog. It’s one of the most important parts of the web’s core. I hope it helps you understand how important optimization is and how to do it. You can get in touch with us if you want the best SEO services. We offer high-quality services at prices that are easy on the wallet.