Interaction to Next Paint (INP)

Key Strategies to Improve Your INP (Interaction to Next Paint) Scores

As search engines evolve, so does Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Google’s introduction of Core Web Vitals has shifted the focus towards user experience as a significant factor in website rankings. Among these vitals, the Interaction to Next Paint (INP) stands out as a critical metric for measuring the responsiveness of a web page. As a digital marketing expert specialising in SEO, I’ll guide you through understanding INP, its importance, and practical strategies to improve this vital to enhance your website’s performance and search engine ranking.

Impact of INP on Website Speed and User Experience

Interaction to Next Paint (INP) measures the time from when a user first interacts with a page (through a click, tap, or key press) to when the browser is able to respond to that interaction by updating the visual display on the screen. INP replaces the older First Input Delay (FID) metric, offering a more comprehensive view of the user’s experience. This is because INP not only accounts for the processing time but also includes the rendering time required to reflect the interaction visually, making it a true measure of interactive responsiveness.

Why INP Matters for SEO

Google has always prioritised user experience, and with the Core Web Vitals becoming ranking factors, optimising for INP (Interaction to Next Paint ) is not just about improving site usability—it directly impacts your SEO success. Websites with better responsiveness (lower INP values) are likely to rank higher as they provide a better user experience, reducing bounce rates and increasing engagement, which are key signals for search engine algorithms.

Strategies to Optimise INP

Optimising INP can be technically challenging, but with the right approach and tools, it is achievable.

Here are detailed strategies to help you improve INP and, by extension, your site’s overall performance and SEO ranking:

1. Leverage Browser’s DevTools

Chrome’s DevTools offers a comprehensive suite for diagnosing and addressing INP issues. The Performance panel, in particular, allows you to record page interactions and analyse the tasks that occur during these interactions. Look for long tasks or excessive JavaScript execution that could be delaying the paint. Reducing these tasks can significantly improve your INP score.

To use Chrome’s DevTools to diagnose and address INP (Interaction to Next Paint) issues, follow these detailed steps:

  1. Open Chrome DevTools:
    • Right-click on any page element and select “Inspect”, or use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+I (Windows/Linux) or Cmd+Option+I (Mac).
  2. Navigate to the Performance Panel:
    • Click on the “Performance” tab in the DevTools top menu. If you don’t see it directly, you might find it under the “>>” (more options) menu.
  3. Start Recording a Session:
    • Click the “Record” button (the circle icon at the top-left of the Performance panel) to begin recording. Perform the page interactions that you want to analyse during this time. Try to replicate typical user behaviours.
    • Click the “Stop” button once you’ve finished the interactions.
  4. Analyse the Performance Data:
    • After stopping the recording, the panel will display a timeline of all the tasks that occurred during the recording. Here’s what to focus on:
      • Frames: Look at the frame rate (FPS) chart to identify any significant drops which could indicate performance issues.
      • Main Thread: Examine activities on the main thread to spot any long tasks. Long tasks are any that take over 50 milliseconds and are highlighted in red.
  5. Identify Long Tasks and Excessive JavaScript Execution:
    • Zoom into the timeline (by scrolling or using the zoom tool) to look at specific tasks more closely.
    • Long tasks often have a detailed breakdown of sub-tasks, including scripting, rendering, and painting times.
    • Hover over tasks to see tooltips that explain what the browser was doing (e.g., executing a particular JavaScript function).
  6. Optimise Based on Findings:
    • If you identify heavy JavaScript execution as a bottleneck, consider optimising or deferring non-critical scripts.
    • Look into splitting up long tasks into smaller, asynchronous chunks if possible.
    • Utilise web workers for offloading operations from the main thread.
  7. Test Improvements:
    • After making changes, go back to the Performance panel to record and analyse new sessions to see the impact of your optimisations.

2. Optimise JavaScript and CSS

JavaScript and CSS are often the culprits behind high INP values. Optimising them involves several steps:

  • Minimise JavaScript Execution: Reduce unused JavaScript and defer non-critical JS until after the main content has loaded to prevent it from blocking the main thread.
  • Streamline CSS: Minimise costly CSS effects and only load critical CSS inline with your HTML. Use media queries to load additional styles as needed rather than loading all styles upfront.

3. Utilise the content-visibility CSS Property

This property enables the browser to skip the rendering work for offscreen content until it’s needed. This can drastically reduce the amount of rendering work needed at page load, improving INP as the browser will have fewer tasks to handle upon user interactions.

4. Implement Effective Caching Strategies

Caching your web content on the user’s device reduces the amount of data your site needs to fetch on repeat visits, which can improve loading times and responsiveness. Utilise service workers and cache APIs to cache important resources locally.

To implement caching strategies like utilizing service workers and cache APIs on a WordPress site, you will typically use a plugin that supports these technologies. Here are some steps and a recommended plugin to achieve this:

WP Super Cache is a popular and highly effective plugin for implementing caching in WordPress. It creates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog, so that the web server will use a lighter HTML file instead of processing the comparatively heavier WordPress PHP scripts. However, for advanced features like service workers and using cache APIs, you might consider integrating additional plugins or custom scripts.

Steps to Set Up Basic Caching with WP Super Cache:
  1. Install WP Super Cache:
    • Go to your WordPress admin dashboard.
    • Navigate to “Plugins” > “Add New”.
    • Search for “WP Super Cache”.
    • Click “Install Now” and then “Activate”.
  2. Configure Caching Settings:
    • Once activated, go to “Settings” > “WP Super Cache”.
    • Enable caching by selecting “Caching On” and save the changes.
    • Under the “Advanced” tab, configure the caching delivery method, typically “Simple” for most users or “Expert” for better performance (requires modifying .htaccess files).
  3. Set Up Advanced Features:
    • WP Super Cache primarily deals with page caching. For functionalities like service workers and browser caching through cache APIs, consider additional plugins or custom development.

For Service Workers and Cache APIs:

PWA for WP & AMP: This plugin is designed to turn your website into a Progressive Web App (PWA). It supports service workers and caching strategies that help in offline support and network resilience.

  1. Install PWA for WP & AMP:
    • Go to “Plugins” > “Add New”.
    • Search for “PWA for WP & AMP”.
    • Click “Install Now” and then “Activate”.
  2. Configure Service Worker:
    • Navigate to the PWA settings in your WordPress dashboard.
    • Set up the service worker’s caching strategies for static resources (CSS, JavaScript, images) and pages.
    • Customise the scope and behaviour of the service worker as needed.
  3. Testing and Validation:
    • Test your website offline to ensure that the service worker is properly caching the necessary resources.
    • Use tools like Google Chrome’s DevTools to inspect the service worker activity and cached items.

5. Regularly Monitor and Test Your Site

Continuous monitoring and testing with tools like Lighthouse, WebPageTest, and Google’s PageSpeed Insights are essential. They not only provide a snapshot of your INP performance but also offer detailed recommendations for improvement.

Collaboration is Key: SEOs and Developers Unite

Improving INP requires a collaborative effort between SEOs and web developers. SEO specialists need to articulate the importance of INP to developers and ensure they have the knowledge to prioritise and implement the necessary changes. Similarly, developers need to provide insights into possible technical constraints and work with SEOs to find feasible solutions.


Improving your website’s SEO is all about focusing on what really matters to users, like the Interaction to Next Paint (INP) metric. By getting to grips with INP and making smart tweaks, you can boost your site’s user experience, climb up the search rankings, and attract more visitors naturally. Ready to enhance your website’s performance? Reach out to us today, and let’s make your site the best it can be!

About the author: Michael Masa

Why should you listen to me? With a rich marketing background and a passion for sharing knowledge, I have dedicated the last 9 years of my life to the field. I have worked as Marketing Director and have been instrumental in shaping the marketing strategy of one of Europe’s leading insurers, BAVARIA AG.

Prior to my current role, I spent 12 years as Sales Director, managing a team of 12 dynamic people and applying the latest sales techniques to drive success. This experience allowed me to hone my leadership skills and gain a deep understanding of the sales industry.

I am now at the helm of Dealers League, a marketing agency that not only creates and manages websites for businesses, but also focuses on the importance of effective marketing strategies. Recognising the need for continuous learning in this fast-paced industry, we offer courses on the latest marketing techniques.

My varied experience in sales and marketing gives me a unique insight into how these two crucial areas intersect. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and insights with you through this blog.

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