Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)

What is the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a website metric that measures how long it takes to load the largest element on the page.

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It measures the time it takes from when a user initiates loading the page on their browser until the largest image or text block is fully rendered for the visitor.

Why is LCP Important for Website Performance?

LCP is important for several reasons. First, it directly impacts the user experience. A fast LCP means users don’t feel frustrated waiting for your content to appear and decide to click away.

It is also important for search engine optimization (SEO), as Google and other search engines take LCP into consideration when ranking websites in search results.

Finally, faster loading times can lead to higher conversion rates as users are more likely to engage with your content and complete desired actions, such as subscribing to a newsletter or completing a purchase.

What’s a Good LCP Score?

Ideally, for desktop users, you should aim for an LCP score of 2.5 seconds or less for 75% of page loads. This aligns with Google’s Core Web Vital thresholds for a seamless user experience.

Mobile users generally have a slower connection speed, so 3 seconds or less for page loads is considered good. However, striving for under 2.5 seconds on mobile is still highly recommended for an optimal user experience.

How to Measure Your LCP Performance

Multiple tools are available to measure your LCP performance, including the following:

  • Chrome Dev Tools – This built-in browser tool offers a range of performance insights, including LCP timing, network waterfall analysis, and more. It’s free and readily available for Chrome users.
  • Lighthouse – An open-source auditing tool from Google that assesses various web quality aspects, including LCP.
  • WebPageTest – This advanced tool performs detailed performance tests from multiple locations, providing in-depth analysis of LCP and other metrics. It’s particularly useful for identifying regional performance variations.

How Can You Improve the Largest Contentful Paint?

If the LCP is significantly larger than the recommended maximum of three seconds, there are a few things you can do to improve it.

  • Get good web hosting – Choose a reliable hosting provider with good response times and server resources.
    Optimize image sizes – Compress images without sacrificing quality using tools like TinyPNG or JPEGmini. Resize images to fit their actual display size.
  • Use CDN – Consider implementing a Content Delivery Network (CDN) feature. This caches your page as a static page and stores it on a worldwide network of servers. This way, your site visitors will access the site from the closest server to them.
  • Use simple and web-safe fonts – Host fonts locally to avoid relying on external servers.
  • Try lazy loading – Lazy loading is a loading technique that helps to speed up a website’s loading time. It renders webpage content only when the visitor has scrolled down to it. In simple terms, the website loads up as the user is scrolling down the page instead of the whole page loading up all at once.

The Bottom Line

The Largest Contentful Paint is an important website loading metric that adds to the user experience. If the LCP takes a long time to load, site visitors are more likely to leave the page without engaging with it.

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Chris Price

Chris has been a freelance technology journalist since the 1990s. In addition to editing two consumer tech blogs, TechDigest.tv and ShinyShiny.tv, he also regularly contributes tech/business articles to various publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Tech Radar, IFSEC Insider and AI Business. He was recently listed in the TytoTech 500 list of UK tech influencers, one place behind money-saving expert Martin Lewis! A passionate outdoor swimmer, Chris is also a qualified lifeguard.