First-Contentful-Paint

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What is First-Contentful Paint

The First Contentful Paint (FCP) of your website is one of the most meaningful metrics in Google's Core Web Vitals. Unlike other metrics, FCP is not a purely technical metric for the Response time. FCP focuses on the user's experience and what they perceive first on the website, rather than what loads in the background.

When you optimize your website's First Contentful Paint, you not only speed up overall loading times and increase page speed ratings, but you also literally show your visitors that their requests are being handled and the loading process is not stalled.

What exactly is the First-Contentful-Paint (FCP)?

The First-Contentful-Paint (FCP) says something about the user experience and indicates the time in milliseconds that elapses between the page being called up and the first content-rich element on the page being displayed.
Content rich means an HTML element with content. So not a formatting element like an empty field or a background color. But a piece of text, an image (including a background image), an svg or a canvas.

A "paint" takes place every time a Browser brings something onto the screen. So the first "paint" is the time from loading the page until the first text or image is displayed. This gives the visitor the impression that it is a fast web page, even though in reality it took longer to complete the whole page.

Why is the First-Contentful-Paint (FCP) important for visitors?

Speed plays a big role on the Internet. According to a recent study by Google, the probability that a user will leave the page doubles if the loading time is 3 seconds. You probably know this: on the Internet, almost nothing is as annoying as a slow-loading website. There's a good chance you'll quickly click away from the page and look for something else.

A fast FCP shows that the content is displayed quickly on the screen. So the visitor gets the impression that the page responds quickly and that something happens quickly. Therefore, visitors will not click away from the page so quickly.

What is the significance of the First Contentful Paint metric?

The loading of a page cannot be summarized in a single moment. There are several moments during page loading that can cause a user to perceive the page as fast or slow.

For example, you can measure when the HTML data was received by the browsers or when the entire page was loaded, but that doesn't always give a good impression.
When the first HTML element is received, the page is far from being on the screen.

But waiting until the whole page is on the screen doesn't always give a good picture. With modern, interactive pages, you sometimes have to wait longer for every element to load.

While for the user the page was actually ready earlier.
It can vary from page to page when the page is ready. That's why FCP is a handy measurement tool that looks at the user experience. The FCP is a standard measurement point to get a better idea of the speed of the page.

What is a good First ContentFul Paint?

A good time to first byte for web pages is lower than 2000ms according to Google Developers. An FCP between 2000 and 4000ms is considered "moderate" and above 4000ms is very slow. For the FCP value, lower is always better. That's why many technical SEO expertn 1800ms for an outstanding Response time.

What is a good FCP value?

FCP (First Contentful Paint) is an important webitals metric that measures the time it takes to publish the first content of a website in the Browser of the user. A good FCP value makes for a better user experience and can have a positive impact on SEO. Here are some strategies to improve the FCP value of your website:

Server optimization

  1. Server speed: Choose a fast and reliable hosting provider. A low server response time improves the FCP value.
  2. CDN (Content Delivery Network) use A CDN can speed up the delivery of content by sending it to the user from a geographically closer location.
  3. GZIP-Compression: Activate the GZIP-Compression for CSS, HTML and JavaScript-files to shorten the transfer time.

Resource optimization

  1. Reduce file sizes: Reduce the size of images and other media content. Use modern image formats such as WebP.
  2. Minimization and aggregation: Minimize CSS and JavaScript-files and combine smaller files where possible.
  3. Lazy Loading: Implement lazy loading for images and other media elements that appear below the visible area ("below the fold") lie.

Browser caching

  1. Cache Control: Use headers for cache control to control how long resources are stored in the Browser-cache of the user.
  2. ETags: Use ETags to help the Browser to signal which resources need to be reloaded and which do not.

Code optimization

  1. Asynchronous or differentiated scripts: Where possible, scripts should be loaded asynchronously or differentiated to avoid blocking render time.
  2. Inline Critical CSS: Use inline CSS for critical rendering paths and move less important CSS files to the end of the document.

Monitoring and analysis

  1. Real User Monitoring (RUM): Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse to monitor FCP and other web vitals metrics.
  2. A/B testing: Run A/B tests to evaluate the effectiveness of your optimizations.

With these optimization steps, you can significantly improve the FCP value of your website and thus not only enhance the user experience, but also positively influence the SEO performance of your website. It's important to carefully measure the impact of each change to ensure that it delivers the desired results.

Conclusion

A good FCP (First Contentful Paint) value is crucial for the user experience and indirectly for the SEO performance of a website. A quick presentation of the first visible content on the website creates a positive first impression for users. This in turn can increase dwell time and interaction with the page, which ultimately positively influences SEO-relevant metrics such as bounce rate.

Server optimizations, the reduction and Compression of resources, smart Browser-Caching and code optimizations are essential building blocks for improving the FCP value. It is particularly important that these optimizations should be considered in the context of overall web performance. The implementation of a good monitoring system is therefore indispensable to measure the effects of the implemented changes and to make adjustments if necessary.

But not only technical aspects are relevant. The FCP value can also be positively influenced by content strategies, such as placing critical content in the visible area of the web page ("above the fold"). Thus, FCP becomes a shared responsibility of developers, designers and content strategists.

In short, an optimal FCP value is the result of a comprehensive, well-coordinated web performance strategy that takes into account both technical and content aspects. Achieving a good FCP value is therefore not just a one-off task, but requires continuous monitoring and adjustment. It represents one of the cornerstones for a successful SEO strategy and an excellent user experience.

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FAQ

What is First Contentful Paint? arrow icon in accordion
First Contentful Paint (FCP) is an important metric that plays a big role in measuring the usability of a website. It measures the time it takes to display the first content on the page after the user accesses the page. This first content can be an image, a block of text, or some other element.
Why is the measurement of First Contentful Paint important? arrow icon in accordion
Measuring the First Contentful Paint is important because it's a great way to see how quickly a page loads and how much time it takes your visitors to see the initial content. If the loading time is too long, visitors can quickly tend to leave the page, which can mean a high loss of conversions for you as a business owner.
How is the First Contentful Paint measured? arrow icon in accordion
The First Contentful Paint is measured by observing the first element on the page that loads in the browser in the user's field of view. This element can be an image, a block of text, or some other element. The FCP value is then given in milliseconds.
What influences does the size of the first content have on the First Contentful Paint value? arrow icon in accordion
The larger the first content, the longer it usually takes to load. Therefore, a larger first content will usually result in a longer First Contentful Paint value than a smaller one.
What impact can page load time have on user experience? arrow icon in accordion
A long load time can cause users to leave the page before they even view it. This can lead to a loss of conversions for your business. For this reason, it's important that pages load as quickly as possible to ensure that users stay on the page and read the content.
Can users actively contribute to improving the First Contentful Paint value? arrow icon in accordion
Yes, users can actively help pages load faster by reducing image sizes and setting a cache. This can help reduce load time and improve the First Contentful Paint value.
How to fix the First Contentful Paint problem if it exists? arrow icon in accordion
If the loading time is too long, you can try to reduce the size of the images by compressing excessively large images. You can also implement a cache on your page to store data between visits. This can reduce the loading time on the next visit and improve the First Contentful Paint value.
What other Google metrics play a role in measuring user experience? arrow icon in accordion
In addition to First Contentful Paint, there are other metrics that are important in measuring the usability of a website. These include the Load Time metric, Time to Interactive, Time to First Byte, and Cumulative Layout Shift.
What tools can be used to check the First Contentful Paint? arrow icon in accordion
There are many tools you can use to check the First Contentful Paint. Some of the most popular ones are Google PageSpeed Insights, Lighthouse, and WebPageTest. These tools can help you gain insight into your load times and identify ways to improve your page speed.
What can companies do to improve First Contentful Paint? arrow icon in accordion
To improve the First Contentful Paint, companies should try to reduce image sizes and implement caches to reduce load time. They can also avoid content rendering delays by prioritizing content rendering and avoiding large requests.

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