How long does it take for your website’s largest content element, such as heading text or hero image, to appear within your visitor’s viewport? Page loading speed is a critical factor in user experience (UX). To ensure page visitors are satisfied with what they find on your website, you need to understand what is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and begin optimizing for it.
What does LCP mean and how can it affect your website performance?
Largest Contentful Paint is part of Google’s Core Web Vitals update, along with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) and First Input Delay (FID), which focuses on website responsiveness, usability and interactivity. LCP measures the time it takes to load and render a web page's main content and have it ready for interaction.
Understanding what does LCP stand for and what is a good LCP score is critical in web development and technical search engine optimization (SEO). A fast LCP helps reassure the user that the page is useful. If site visitors cannot achieve their goals efficiently and effectively, they will likely leave your website and seek an alternative solution to complete their desired action.
Discover what is Largest Contentful Paint and how to improve it to help meet your target audience’s expectations and needs as quickly and dependably as possible.
Here’s everything you need to know about Largest Contentful Paint and how to improve LCP according to web development specialists and technical SEO experts.
What Is Largest Contentful Paint?
Largest Contentful Paint is a Core Web Vitals metric that enables web developers and technical SEO specialists to approximate the loading time of a web page’s main content and gain visibility into its rendering process.
LCP looks into the largest element of a web page even after it is removed from the page DOM or other images of the same size are loaded. It also ignores background images to facilitate better carousel handling.
First Contentful Paint (FCP)
LCP is set to be a ranking factor. As such, it is crucial to understand what is Largest Contentful Paint and how to improve LCP to upgrade your technical SEO services and achieve the best scores.
To better comprehend the question of what does LCP mean in SEO and how it can affect your online ranking, let’s first discuss exactly what is the largest element on a web page.
What Is the Largest Element on a Web Page?
Google considers the above the fold content as the main content or the largest block level elements on a web page. Above the fold pertains to the content displayed without scrolling the page.
Now, to fully understand what is LCP, it is necessary to learn the block level elements definition and their significant role in calculating your LCP score.
Block Level Elements Definition
Block-level elements are any element, such as a block of text, slider or banner image, that occupy the entire horizontal space available and the vertical space equivalent to the height of its container. Web pages comprise different block-level elements that appear as the user scrolls down the page.
Whenever a page loads, the browser downloads and analyzes the HTML block level elements to build the Document Object Model (DOM) tree. This DOM tree contains all the block level elements HTML that determine your page speed and site performance.
Google uses the largest block-level elements to calculate real human interactions with your website. Keep in mind that LCP elements can change over time as the page loads. Numerous variables, such as a user’s choice of browser, device’s operating system (OS) and browser toolbars, can affect how the block level elements are displayed.
To achieve a good LCP score, you have to be more aggressive in mastering what is LCP and how to improve it, especially for mobile because mobile pages tend to load longer.
Why Does LCP Matter to the
Page Experience Update?
Understanding LCP meaning is crucial because page speed and performance are the difference between a profitable business and a company in the red.
More than 53 percent of mobile users will leave if a website doesn’t load within three seconds.
As your page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds, your bounce rate also increases by 32 percent.
If HTML block level elements don’t render within seconds upon users’ query, your page visitors and potential customers are likely to leave and move on to faster-loading websites.
Failure to balance the size of your CSS block level elements and HTML block level elements can result in a poor LCP score.
Optimizing the block level elements in HTML helps Google bots crawl a website fast.
In terms of technical SEO, the faster the HTML and CSS block level elements load, the better user experience you create from a visitor standpoint.
Still in the dark about LCP meaning and computation? The following discussions focus on how to measure LCP, what is a good Largest Contentful Paint score and how to optimize for LCP. Let’s get started.
How to Measure Largest Contentful Paint
You know now what does LCP stand for. The next step is to learn how to measure LCP.
Technical SEO services providers use various LCP test tools to teach their clients how to measure Largest Contentful Paint:
Google Search Console: to determine possible issues with the largest block level elements in HTML and view your Page Experience report
Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool: to perform an LCP test on a website that is not yet launched or doesn’t have enough traffic to get a meaningful result
Chrome Dev Tools – Lighthouse Feature: to identify technical details that web developers and technical SEO experts need to find out how to improve LCP
These LCP test tools show how long it takes to load the largest block level elements and the most common causes of a poor LCP.
In most cases, web pages with a poor LCP score are due to:
Slow server response times
Slow resource load times
Now that we’ve covered how to measure LCP, let’s identify what is a good LCP score and how to achieve it.
What Is a Good LCP Score?
The general benchmark of a good LCP score is 2.5 seconds or less for the largest block level elements HTML to load. This loading time should apply for 75 percent of the time a user visits one of your web pages.
< 2.5 seconds
Good User Experience
> 4.0 seconds
Poor User Experience
Block level elements CSS with a loading time of 4 seconds or above may result in lower rankings and Google penalties. To boost your user experience and page ranking, you must learn how to optimize for Largest Contentful Paint.
How to Improve Largest Contentful Paint
Google allocates a 28-day collection period to assess and approve your newly optimized pages. Don’t know how to optimize for LCP or where to begin with your technical SEO and web development efforts?
A forward-thinking technical SEO agency can help you determine what is a good LCP score for your website and how to optimize for Largest Contentful Paint.
Here’s a headstart on how to improve LCP according to web development and technical SEO experts:
- Remove all critical requests such as font and third-party requests, that take more time to load.
- Enable instant loading of CSS block level elements with the PRPL pattern.
- Compress image sizes, width and dimensions and ensure they are the same size as their actual size on the website.
- Check your web hos ting provider and optimize your database.
- Update your website theme and plugins with the latest version.
- Stick to one or two fonts for all text elements throughout the website. Consider web-safe fonts or those that load faster through the internet, such as Times New Roman, Courier or Arial.
- Use inline CSS and lightweight CSS
- Remove unused CSS, plugins and unnecessary block level elements in HTML
- Convert images in png or jpeg format into SVG format.
- Encode the SVG format but ensure the encoded CSS file size does not increase.
- Refrain from adding long code for SVG in block level elements CSS.
What Is the PRPL Pattern?
PRPL stands for pre-loading, rendering, pre-caching and lazy loading. This pattern is used to make web pages load faster and become more interactive.
- Pre-loading: Embed an HTML code between the head tags and source code to preload block level elements HTML and key requests from your page quicker.
- Pre-caching: Allow service workers to operate and fetch assets directly from the cache and work in the background of a browser to load block-level elements from a pre-caching stage.
- Lazy Loading: Put a placeholder value on elements below the fold or outside the viewport to ensure the largest HTML block level elements load effectively.
Need help in training your staff and explaining what does LCP mean? Our technical SEO agency is here to help you interpret the LCP meaning and block level elements definition and execute strategies on how to optimize for LCP.
We’ve spent months optimizing the Thrive website for LCP and other Core Web Vitals metrics. Field data from PageSpeed Insights show that 81 percent of site loads have a good LCP score – an indication of a good user experience.
Call our technical SEO agency at 866.908.4748 or fill out our contact form to learn more about our web development and technical SEO services.