In the ever-evolving landscape of web development and user experience, Google has announced a significant shift in its metrics for evaluating website performance. The familiar First Input Delay (FID) metric, which measures the time it takes for a browser to respond to a user’s first interaction, is set to be replaced by a new metric called Input Noises Perceptual (INP) in March 2024. This change is poised to have a substantial impact on how SEO is assessed and how websites are ranked. To help you understand more about this change, we will explore the differences between INP and FID and delve into the implications of this transition for SEO clients.

Understanding the Metrics

FID, the current industry standard, gauges the time from when a user first interacts with a page to when the browser begins processing the event and handles the response. The introduction of INP, on the other hand, takes a more user-centric approach by assessing a web page’s overall responsiveness to various user interactions, including clicks, taps, and keyboard inputs, throughout the entire user session.

Measurement Thresholds

While FID has a measurement threshold of 100ms, with over 300ms considered poor, INP sets a good measurement at 200ms, deeming anything over 500ms as poor. INP places a stronger emphasis on the user’s perception of responsiveness, focusing on the time it takes for users to see changes following an interaction. This more user-centric approach to ranking websites is set to be significant in the overall optimisation as well as the design of websites moving forward as user engagement and bounce rate metrics become more important than ever before in terms of performance.

Event Capturing vs. Visual Rendering

INP tracks events related to layout stability, such as image loading and element positioning, while FID is centred around interactions like clicks and taps. INP’s broader scope allows it to capture a more holistic view of the user experience beyond the initial page load.

Stages of Interaction

INP focuses on the period from user input to a physical response from the webpage, encompassing the entire user experience. FID, in contrast, concentrates on the early input metric from the first user interaction to when the browser responds, measuring the lag or delay users may experience during the initial interaction.

 

Impact on SEO Clients

Although Google has stated that there will be no direct penalties for a poor INP score, the implications for SEO are significant. A low INP score can adversely affect metrics like bounce rate and user engagement, potentially leading to lower SEO and Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings. It underscores the importance of optimising websites for a seamless user experience beyond just the initial page load. This is something for several digital marketing agencies to consider moving forward when it comes to developing effective strategies as Google pulls focus to a more user experience-based way of ranking websites.

As the digital landscape evolves, so do the metrics that govern website performance evaluation. The transition from FID to INP signals a shift towards a more user-centric approach, emphasising the overall user experience throughout a website visit. SEO clients need to adapt and prioritise improvements in INP scores to ensure their websites not only meet the new metric’s standards but also provide a satisfying and responsive experience for users. Keeping pace with these changes is crucial for maintaining visibility and competitiveness in the ever-evolving realm of online presence.

For more information on this latest core web vitals update or to kickstart your marketing campaign in 2024, get in touch with a member of our experienced team!