Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and How to Improve It in WordPress

This post is the first in a three-part series about Core Web Vitals. In it, we want to go over each of the three metrics that are at the heart of Google’s new yard stick for website quality. Our first stop: Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and how to improve it in WordPress.

By now, Core Web Vitals are a critical ranking factor in Google. As measurements for user experience, they determine whether or not visitors have a good time on your site and also influence how well you do in search engines. For that reason, it’s important that you get them right.

To help you do so, as mentioned, we want to examine each of the components of Core Web Vitals in depth. Below, we talk about what exactly they are and why they matter for SEO. After that, you get a grade-A education on how to ace Largest Contentful Paint, the first one of them, on your WordPress site. The post explains what LCP is, how to measure it, what number you should shoot for, and how to improve this metric on your WordPress site if necessary.

What Are Core Web Vitals?

First off, in case this topic is entirely new to you, let’s start with the basics: what exactly are Core Web Vitals?

In short, they are a set of user-centered metrics that measure the loading speed, interactivity, and visual stability of web pages that Google introduced in May 2020. They are supposed to help website owners and developers understand how good of a user experience their pages offer and identify areas for improvement.

Core Web Vitals consist of three metrics:

  1. Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  2. First Input Delay (FID)
  3. Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

Each of these is measured separately and influenced by different factors, which is why we are writing this article series.

Why Do Core Web Vitals Matter for SEO?

The reason why we stress this point is pretty simple. Google has made it clear that it wants to prioritize pages that provide a pleasant experience to visitors who frequent them. Core Web Vitals are a way to measure that.

As a consequence, by now they are a key component of Google’s algorithm for evaluating and ranking web pages. To quote their own page on that matter:

Core Web Vitals are the subset of Web Vitals that apply to all web pages, should be measured by all site owners, and will be surfaced across all Google tools.

Therefore, if you want your pages to perform well, you not only have to look at things like web design, E-A-T, content authority, on-page optimization, site speed, and mobile friendliness but also at these UX metrics. Otherwise, you might find yourself penalized by Google and not ranking well.

In addition, improving Core Web Vitals can lead to better user engagement, longer site visits, and ultimately, increased conversions and revenue. So, optimizing your website for them not only helps with SEO, but also drives business results.

All clear? Then let’s tackle the first metric.

What Is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

paint roll on wall as symbol for largest contentful paint

LCP is the first Core Web Vitals Metric we want to look at. It measures the time it takes for the largest element in the viewport (that’s what you see in your browser window) to become fully rendered on the screen after a user initiates a page load. It could be an image, video, text block, or any other element that occupies a significant amount of space on the page.

LCP is an important metric because it reflects how quickly users can access the main content of a web page, which is likely what they came for in the first place. A slow LCP score means that users may have to wait longer before they can start reading or interacting with the page. This can lead to frustration and simply make them leave. No bueno.

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