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Google Has Introduced INP to Core Web Vitals

Magnifying glass focused on Google Search Console

In 2022, Google announced Interaction to Next Paint (INP) would replace First Input Delay (FID) in the Core Web Vitals (CWV) report. Earlier this week, the switch finally rolled out. As a result, as of March 2024, performance on this metric can now be reviewed in Google Search Console (GSC).

But how will this new metric impact your website? And what does it mean for rankings? Here we share our insights and provide answers to your pressing questions.

What is Interaction to Next Paint (INP)?

Interaction to Next Paint (INP) is a new Core Web Vitals metric that highlights responsiveness. Utilising data from the Event Timing API, INP essentially tracks how long it takes (in milliseconds) for an interaction (such as clicking a button) to be completed (i.e. for the browser to successfully render). 

Why Has INP Replaced FID?

First Input Delay (FID) was one of the original metrics when Core Web Vitals launched in 2020. Two years later, Google recognised the limitations of FID. As a result, the company outlined plans to ‘develop a new metric that extended what FID measures’. This led to the creation of INP.

In replacing FID, Google stated that their new metric must:

  1. Consider the responsiveness of all user inputs (not just the first one)
  2. Capture each event’s full duration (not just the delay)
  3. Group events together that occur as part of the same logical user interaction and define that interaction’s latency as the max duration of all its events
  4. Create an aggregate score for all interactions that occur on a page, throughout its full lifecycle’

What is the Difference Between FID and INP?

As the successor to FID, the new INP metric provides a more complete picture of a user’s experience. As a ‘load responsive metric’, FID measured the delay of the first page interaction. In contrast, INP measures the delay of all page interactions.

While FID provided information about the page’s initial impression, INP is a more insightful metric that delivers information about the page’s overall responsiveness.

When Did INP Replace FID?

INP replaced FID on Tuesday 12 March 2024. However, the arrival of INP was first teased in May 2022. At this time, Google began testing this ‘pending metric’ and they made INP available in the CWV tools. 

After analysing INP and securing feedback, this new metric was found to address the limitations of FID. As a result, INP graduated from its experimental phase and officially replaced FID in March 2024. 

Now the roll out of INP is complete, the old FID metric is no longer available in the Search Console report.

How Will INP Impact Rankings?

In March 2024, Google updated their Page Experience Documentation regarding Core Web Vitals. This new information, which can be found under the ‘What aspects of page experience are used in ranking?’ section, highlights the role that Core Web Vitals play in ranking:

‘Core Web Vitals are used by our ranking systems. We recommend site owners achieve good Core Web Vitals for success with Search and to ensure a great user experience generally. Keep in mind that getting good results in reports like Search Console’s Core Web Vitals report or third-party tools doesn’t guarantee that your pages will rank at the top of Google Search results; there’s more to great page experience than Core Web Vitals scores alone. These scores are meant to help you to improve your site for your users overall, and trying to get a perfect score just for SEO reasons may not be the best use of your time.

Beyond Core Web Vitals, other page experience aspects don’t directly help your website rank higher in search results. However, they can make your website more satisfying to use, which is generally aligned with what our ranking systems seek to reward. Therefore it’s still worth working to improve page experience overall.’

As a means of gauging page experience, it appears INP could impact your Core Web Vitals scores. By extension, a good INP score could signal a good user experience, which could positively impact your rankings – and vice versa. 

What Does This Change Mean For My Website?

Prior to March 2024, page performance was measured on the delay of your first interaction. Today, this is judged on all page interactions. With the new INP metric, it’s imperative that your website pages provide a good user experience with every interaction.

As highlighted in Google’s Page Experience Documentation:

‘Google’s core ranking systems look to reward content that provides a good page experience. Site owners seeking to be successful with our systems should not focus on only one or two aspects of page experience. Instead, check if you’re providing an overall great page experience across many aspects.’

It’s clear that improving INP is essential for user satisfaction and engagement. By boosting the responsiveness of your website, you could deliver a positive user experience that improves ranking, reduces bounce rate and increases conversions. 

Are you keen to ensure your website is responsive and boasts good Core Web Vitals scores? Whether you have questions about INP or improving your user experience, our experts are on hand to answer your queries.

Contact us today to discuss your concerns and see how we can help with low INP scores.

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  • Marcus Hearn

    Marcus has spent his career growing the organic search visibility of both large organisations and SMEs. He specialises in technical SEO but he’s obsessed with curating strategies that leverage expertise and unlock potential.