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11th August 2023 - Chris Regan

How INP Will Affect Search

If you’ve accessed Google Search Console recently, you may have encountered the term INP. Google is set to add INP to their Core Web Vital metrics from March 2024. We have looked at what INP is, how to optimise your website for INP, how INP will fit into Core Web Vitals and what impact this will likely have on your website.

Chris Regan

TL;DR?

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Interaction to Next Paint Stopwatch

What is INP?

First, it’s probably best to explain what INP stands for, what it is and how Google calculates it as a metric.

INP stands for Interaction to Next Paint. It looks at how responsive a page is to user interactions. It looks at all user interaction on a page, such as clicks, taps and keyword inputs and measures the visual response of the website.

Example of Bad INP

Bad INP

Example of Good INP

Good INP

Google counts how long an interactive element takes to show a user a visual response. Most pages have multiple interactive elements, so Google always uses the worst-performing element.

What’s a good INP?

Like with all Google Core Web Vital metrics, the INP score is broken down into three areas assigned traffic light colours.

  • Good
  • Needs Improvement
  • Poor

Green: The INP is 200 milliseconds or under, meaning your page has good responsiveness.

Yellow: The INP Is between 200 and 500 milliseconds and your page needs improvement.

Red: The INP is more than 500 milliseconds and has poor responsiveness.

Optimising INP

Like most metrics under the Core Web Vitals, optimising your website for INP can be an iterative process. Every page will likely have different scoring depending on how many interactive components the page has.

As you’ll only get scoring from the worst performing element, fixing that will highlight the performance of the next worst performing. Some pages may share interactive elements, so a fix on one page will carry through to other pages.

How can I check INP?

The best place to check INP is through PageSpeed Insights, you’ll need to go through each page of your website to find any problems and like with all Core Web Vital metrics, you’ll get different scores on desktop and mobile.

Google has also added an INP table to Search Console, but at the moment, it just gives you the number or URLs with errors and doesn’t detail which page has the problems.

It’s not yet been integrated into Lighthouse, but we expect it will be in the coming months.

INP integrated into Core Web Vitals

Google has already integrated the INP metric into a Core Web Vitals report, this is to inform you of it before the full implementation in March 2024. This has no bearing on the report but just shows the metrics in the report with the other new metric, Time to First Byte (TTFB).

It’s worth noting that Core Web Vitals already uses First Input Delay (FID), which is similar to INP. From March 2024, FID will be removed from the Core Web Vitals report and replaced with INP.

Difference between INP and FID

Metric
Measured
INP
Time it takes for a website to respond to an interaction
FID
Time it takes for a website to respond to the first user input after the page has loaded

INP measures the time it takes for a website to respond to an interaction, such as clicking a button or submitting a form. FID measures the time it takes for a website to respond to the first user input after the page has loaded.

In other words, INP measures the responsiveness of a website during user interaction, while FID measures the responsiveness of a website before user interaction.

Core Web Vitals Impact on Search

Core Web Vitals are a set of factors that measure a web page's loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. They were introduced in May 2020 and became a ranking factor in June 2021.

Google introduced this as a ranking factor as they want websites to focus on providing a good experience, and ensuring website owners look at how a website performs is a big part of that. These metrics set a standard for developers to work towards, understanding what's good and bad.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, we welcome the introduction of INP as it's an improvement on FID and reflects a website's responsiveness. We believe these changes will help improve the user experience for all website visitors and ultimately lead to a better ranking for websites that provide a good user experience.

References

Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Introducing INP to Core Web Vitals

Chris Regan

About the Author

Chris Regan

Chris is the Managing Director and Founder of Arriba. With a degree in web development and over 10-years of experience in the SEO industry, Chris is an expert in all aspects of user-experience and technical SEO.

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