What is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) and How to Improve it?

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 14, 2022  . 8 min read
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"How to improve the largest contentful paint?’" — Before we take you through a step-by-step guide, it’s important to know what is LCP. Well, Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is one of the most important metrics under Core Web Vitals.

Core Web Vitals are factors considered by search engines like Google to help developers understand the user experience of a particular web page.

In simple words, LCP focuses on ensuring a smooth user experience and whether the site visitors are satisfied or not. To achieve a smooth user experience, web pages need to load quickly.

If a website takes a good amount of time to load, users will leave it before going through the necessary information.

More About Largest Contentful Paint

All you need to know about LCP - TypeStack
All you need to know about LCP - TypeStack

Now that you have understood the crux of the contentful paint, let's understand LCP meaning briefly.

The Largest Contentful Paint is a core vital metric that measures the total time taken by a website to allow users to view the site content on their respective screens.

The page time is measured when the website starts loading and ends when a large image or text is rendered. LCP is required by businesses to provide an excellent user experience.

For example, let’s say the main content or element of your website (including text and images) takes more than a minute to load. Do you think the visitors will stay on your site for a longer time? No, there are higher chances of them leaving and never coming back.

It is one of the reasons why LCP was introduced. This metric is not only helpful to know your user experience score but even helps in improving SEO performance.

To further understand what does LCP mean, continue reading. If we have to put it even simpler, LCP is an image or text block, and is the largest element on the website. However, it can be different for both mobile and desktop.

But understanding LCP meaning isn’t enough as there are multiple factors that impact LCP.

What is a Good LCP Score?

What is good LCP (largest contentful paint score) - TypeStack
What is good LCP (largest contentful paint score) - TypeStack

After understanding what is LCP, it’s time to go to the next step i.e., learning about a good LCP score.

Before you start wondering, let us put it this way — scores are important to pass every assessment and it’s similar for LCP.

So, what is a good LCP score — If the loading time of your website is 2.5 seconds or less, you get a green score. It means that you have passed the assessment. But, if you have got an orange or red score, know that it’s time to worry.

Orange depicts that your website loading time is between 2.5 to 4 seconds and red means it is more than 4 seconds. While the former says your site needs improvement, the latter is more concerning because you need to fix it as soon as possible.

When we speak about how to improve the largest contentful paint, the score plays a crucial role. It’s because constant monitoring is important to understand the page loading speed and then you have to take measures if something goes wrong.

How to Measure Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

How to measure LCP - TypeStack
How to measure LCP - TypeStack

In order to take necessary measures to improve the LCP score, it is important to measure this core vital metric.

Optimizing your web page for LCP can be a daunting and challenging task. Here are some of the easiest ways to find and measure it with the Lab and Field Data method.

The Field Data method captures real-time user experience and is directly on the site. The other tools you can use to monitor the page speed are PageSpeed Insights, Chrome User Experience Report, and Search Console.

The Lab Data method is majorly performed by the algorithms, where the performance simulation is done with the predefined device and network setting. The five most recommended tools for Lab Data are Lighthouse, WebPage Test, Chrome DevTools, GTmetrix, and PageSpeed Insights.

These tools are highly recommended and easy to use and understand. For example, through these tools, you will get an LCP score and recommendations to improve your web page performance.

Now when someone asks you how to measure LCP, you clearly know which tools to use. Well, not just this, but it also serves as a greater contributor to one of the most common questions — how to improve the largest contentful paint?

How do Images Impact LCP?

How do images impact LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) - TypeStack
How do images impact LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) - TypeStack

Now you know quite a bit. So, let us dissect how largest elements like images impact LCP.

So, how do images impact LCP — Images are one of the largest elements of a website apart from text, videos, or animations. Since these elements highly impact the page loading speed and user experience, it’s important to pay a little attention here.

If a particular web page requires one or more images, make sure to do the following things:

  • Compress them
  • Reduce the image size as per display dimensions
  • Convert them into JPEG, PNG, or another format

It’s important because the dimensions and formats of an image directly impact a website’s loading speed. For example, if the size of an image is more than the mentioned website dimensions, your web page will take more than the required time to load. It will frustrate the visitors and persuade them to leave your page.

Such problems will also impact your LCP, resulting in a poor user experience.

How to Optimize for a Good LCP?

How to optimize for good Largest Contentful Paint - TypeStack
How to optimize for good Largest Contentful Paint - TypeStack

If you want to learn how to improve the largest contentful paint, it’s important to optimize LCP. Here’s how to optimize for a good LCP.

  • Reduce the resource time by compressing the images, using quality image formats like JPEG, PNG, or WebP, and using the image size/dimensions as required by a particular website.
  • Use a quality hosting service as it can directly affect the website loading speed. For example, if you end up choosing a poor hosting service, it will take an adequate time to load your website and hamper your user experience. Therefore, it is advised to go for a reputed one.
  • Defer JavaScript. It is one of the reasons behind your bad LCP score. So, if you want to know how to improve the largest contentful paint, avoid using JavaScript to load images.
  • Use a good CDN service as it can help in loading the largest element of your website like images load faster, increase the LCP score, and improve your website’s performance.

Does LCP Affect SEO?

Yes, it does. If you have read this article carefully, you would know that even algorithms evaluate a website’s performance, considering the page load speed and other elements.

To put it more concise, we all know Google for ranking sites based on keywords and their content. But, these are not the only factors. Search engines like Google use metrics like the Largest Contentful Paint before ranking the sites on search results.

LCP plays a crucial role since it is directly related to a web page’s loading time and user experience. Therefore, it is important to have a good LCP score, so it can allow Google algorithm to analyze and differentiate accordingly.

Remember, the quicker the page loading time, the better the user experience. And a good user experience means an increase in the chances of your website being ranked high in the search results.

Now you know what does LCP means, but the real knowledge is to understand the importance of optimizing it. Optimizing is one of the important factors for the Largest Contentful Paint as it can improve the overall user experience and bring exceptional results.

Furthermore, each optimization practice will positively impact LCP in some or the other way. So, it’s important to constantly execute these techniques and improve your performance or LCP score.

Now that you have understood the main elements of the Largest Contentful Paint, let us summarize some important pointers for you. Make sure you don’t take away your attention from them.

  • Page loading speed is directly proportional to user experience. The less time, the better. A good user experience can give you quality results.
  • The time to first paint should ideally be 2.5 seconds or less. It’s a green signal for a good LCP score. Time to first paint depicts if your website speed needs improvement or if it is good to go.

After you have understood what is the largest contentful paint, it’s important to know that it is essential for your website’s performance and you can’t choose to ignore it.

We might have indeed given a detailed answer on how to improve the largest contentful paint, but remember, it won’t work until you execute the same. So, make sure you implement these techniques and get your score right. Also, it is essential to keep upgrading your SEO skills constantly as the algorithms of Google and other search engines keep changing.