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Google Search Console Adds Interaction to Next Paint (INP) to Core Web Vitals Report

As of March 12th, Google has added Interaction to Next Paint (INP) into the Search Console's Core Web Vitals report as a critical metric for assessing website interactivity, replacing First Input Delay (FID). This significant update reflects Google's shift in criteria for measuring user experience on websites and performance as a whole.


INP was introduced as an experimental measure in May of 2022, which captures the time between a user’s interaction with a page (like first scroll or a link click) and when the browser can render the resulting changes on the screen.



Understanding the Shift to INP

Initially introduced for testing in May 2022, INP measures the interval from when a user interacts with a web page to when the browser displays the changes. This metric aims to offer a fuller understanding of a site's interactivity compared to FID, which only measures the delay before the first response to user input.


Google's initiative to refine web metrics, part of the Web Vitals program started in 2018, underscores its commitment to improving user experience. By transitioning to INP, Google addresses the shortcomings of FID, providing developers with a more accurate tool for enhancing site responsiveness.


Why INP Matters for Websites

INP stands out as a vital measure in the Core Web Vitals report by giving us insights into a website's responsiveness. It not only highlights the time taken for a page to react to user actions but also influences how websites rank in Google's search results, directly impacting user satisfaction and engagement. Google seems to be in a constant state of focusing on usability and the user, which INP aims to do the same.



Preparing for the Transition to INP

Developers are encouraged to evaluate their websites' current performance under the new INP metric using tools like PageSpeed Insights and Chrome User Experience Report. Achieving a "good" INP score, which aligns with the top 75th percentile of page loads, is recommended for maintaining competitive search rankings, though John Mueller himself (in the LinkedIn post above) also stated that maintaining a perfect score won't "make your sites rankings jump up".


example of pagespeed insights report and INP

Addressing potential issues that affect INP, such as extensive JavaScript execution or complex DOM structures, is critical for optimizing websites for this new metric.


The Impact of INP on Web Development and SEO

The inclusion of INP in Core Web Vitals signifies a large change in web development and SEO strategies. Websites that excel in INP are likely to benefit from higher search rankings and improved user engagement. Consequently, developers might need to adjust their approaches, focusing on reducing interaction delays through code optimization and design adjustments.


Navigating Web Interactivity with INP

Google's replacement of FID with INP in its Core Web Vitals report marks a new phase in measuring and enhancing website interactivity. With the ability to monitor INP performance directly through Search Console, webmasters and developers have a vital tool at their disposal to identify and rectify issues impacting user experience, and positioning their websites for success.


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