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How to Get Backlinks: 15 Proven Tactics

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How to Get Backlinks: 15 Proven Tactics

Link building isn’t rocket science. There’s no secret club where only an elite few get taught how to build links. Anyone can do it. 

But it’s harder than it needs to be without tried and tested tactics to lean on.

Here are 15 proven ways to get backlinks:

  1. The Skyscraper Technique
  2. The Reverse Skyscraper Technique
  3. Resource page link building
  4. Broken link building
  5. 301 redirect link building
  6. Pitch ‘best x in y’ listicles
  7. HARO
  8. Guest blogging
  9. Podcast interviews
  10. Unlinked mentions
  11. Pursue link gaps
  12. Get stockist links
  13. Utilize existing memberships
  14. Pitch link roundups
  15. Internal backlinks

1. The Skyscraper Technique

The Skyscraper Technique is where you find content with lots of backlinks, create something better, then ask everyone linking to the content you improved to link to you instead.

How to do it

You first need to find pages with lots of backlinks. To begin, search for a phrase related to your topic in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer and set the “referring domains” filter to a minimum of 50. This will show you pages with backlinks from 50+ websites.

How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

It’s then simply a case of analyzing the content and thinking about how to improve it.

Here are some of the best ways to improve content:

  • Correct inaccurate or misleading claims. This is arguably the best way to improve content as nobody wants to link to something misleading.
  • Go deeper. If the content in question is only skimming the topic’s surface, go deeper and explain things in more detail.
  • Explain it better. Using graphics, videos, or whatever you need can help the reader understand things easier.

For example, Neil Patel’s page about long-tail keywords has backlinks from 1.1K referring domains:

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But its definition of long-tail keywords is inaccurate (and is super hard to read):

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Providing a meaningful definition is one easy way we could improve this content.

Recommended reading: How to Execute the Skyscraper Technique

2. The Reverse Skyscraper Technique

The reverse skyscraper technique is where you choose a great piece of content already on your site, find similar lower-quality pages with lots of backlinks, then ask everyone linking to those pages to link to you instead.

It works for the same reasons as the “regular” skyscraper technique. The benefit is that you don’t have to create new content.

How to do it

To find the best opportunities for this technique, plug a few keywords you’ve published industry-leading content about into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, then sort the results by Keyword Difficulty (KD) from high to low.

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Sidenote.

Keyword Difficulty (KD) is based on the number of referring domains to the current top-ranking pages. This means that pages ranking for keywords with high KD scores will likely have many backlinks.

Next, click the SERP button and look for similar pages with lots of backlinks.

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Finally, visit these pages and look for compelling reasons why your content is better than theirs. If you find one, pitch your link as a replacement to those linking to the page. You can find these people using the Backlinks report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

3. Resource page link building

Resource page link building is when you get backlinks from web pages that curate resources on a particular topic. It’s a tried and tested strategy because the sole purpose of these pages is to link to valuable resources.

How to do it

To find resource pages, run one of these searches in Google and add a phrase related to your topic:

  • intitle:resources inurl:resources.html
  • intitle:resources inurl:links.html

For example, if you want to build links to a resource on losing weight, you may search for intitle:resources inurl:resources.html weight loss.

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You can also use Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar to export the results and their SEO metrics, which allows you to prioritize opportunities by Domain Rating (DR) and estimated search traffic.

It’s then simply a case of visiting each page to ensure it’s a resource page and links out to external resources. If it fits the bill, find the email address of the person responsible and pitch your resource.

Recommended reading: Resource Page Link Building: The Only Guide You Need

Broken link building is where you find a dead link on a page, create your own page on the topic, and ask everyone linking to the dead resource to link to your page instead.

It works because people who care about their websites don’t want to send visitors to broken pages.

How to do it

There are many ways to find dead pages with backlinks. One of the easiest is to search for a topic in Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, filter for broken pages then set a referring domains filter with a minimum value of 10. This will show you dead pages with backlinks from at least ten websites.

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If you want to investigate a page further, hit the caret and click the link to view it on archive.org. This will show you what was on the dead page before it disappeared.

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How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

If it makes sense for you to create something similar, head back to Content Explorer, hit the caret, and click through to the Backlinks report. You’ll see all of the pages and sites linking to the dead page, which you can pitch your replacement link to once your content goes live.

Recommended reading: A Simple (But Complete) Guide to Broken Link Building

5. 301 redirect link building

301 redirect link building is where you find irrelevant 301 redirects and pitch a suitable replacement to everyone linking to it. It works for the same reason broken link building works; site owners don’t want to send their visitors to what are effectively dead pages.

How to do it

To find irrelevant 301 redirects, go to Site Explorer, change the mode to “https,” enter a niche site, go to the Best by links report, and add a “301 moved permanently” filter.

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Eyeball the URLs for irrelevant redirects.

For example, the first URL above looks like a post about the history of search engines that now redirects to one about search engine marketing. We can confirm that’s the case by hitting the caret and clicking to view the page on archive.org.

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1648465932 198 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

This is an entirely different topic to the page it now redirects to, so this is an irrelevant redirect with 698 referring domains.

6. Pitch ‘best x in y’ listicles

Best x in y” listicles are posts listing the best businesses in a specific area or industry. Finding and pitching ones where you aren’t already featured can earn more exposure and backlinks.

How to do it

You can find relevant lists by searching in Google with this formula: Best BUSINESS TYPE in LOCATION -"YOUR BUSINESS NAME".

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Here’s a list of the best coffee shops in London:

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As per our search, one business that didn’t make the cut is Omotesando Koffee—a top-rated shop according to Google. If you were the founder of this place, it might be worth reaching out to the author to see if they’d be willing to add you.

When doing this, keep two things in mind:

  1. Your pitch needs to make sense.
  2. It won’t always make sense to pitch in the first email.

For example, the fact that Omotesando Koffee isn’t already on this list probably means the author has never been to their shop. In which case, they’re unlikely to add them to the list just because they’re asked to. You first need to build a relationship.

Here’s how I would contact the author in this instance:

Hey [Name],

Just came across your list of the best coffee shops in town and noticed my shop, Omotesando Koffee, wasn’t included. Is that because you didn’t like our coffee or haven’t tasted it?

If it’s the latter, I’d love to invite you down to taste our stuff (don’t worry, it’s on the house).

Are you in the area any time soon?

Let me know.

[Name]

Notice that this email doesn’t pitch inclusion on the list; it simply invites the author to taste our product. It’ll be much easier to ask for inclusion after we win them over.

HARO (Help A Reporter Out) is a free service connecting journalists to sources and sources to journalists. It’s an easy way to earn high-quality backlinks because journalists are soliciting responses from you, not the other way around.

How to do it

Sign up as a source, and you’ll begin receiving emails with queries from journalists at various publications.

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This will include queries from big well-known sites like Business Insider and The New York Times.

The problem is that most queries will be irrelevant, so it’s worth setting up a Gmail filter to save your sanity.

Here’s how:

  • Click the search options filter
  • Set the “From” field to [email protected].
  • Set the “Subject” to “[HARO]”
  • Set “Has the words” to keywords you want to monitor (you can use the OR operator to list multiple keywords here)
1648465936 39 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Hit search and check a few emails to ensure you’re getting relevant results. If all looks good, hit the search options caret again and click “Create filter.”

Now it’s time to start responding to relevant queries.

Just know that not all journalists will cite and link to you just because you respond. For the best results, you should respond only to queries only if you have relevant expertise. It’s also worth prioritizing opportunities where the journalist is looking for multiple experts.

For example, the request below from Business Insider clearly states that they’re looking to hear from multiple elite preschools. So if you work for an elite preschool, you probably have a good chance of getting featured by replying to this request.

1648465937 40 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Guest blogging is where you write a blog post for another website and usually receive attribution and a link back to your site in return.

How to do it

To find websites that are likely to accept guest posts, go to Content Explorer, enter a keyword related to your niche, and change the dropdown to “In title”. This searches billions of pages for matching content.

You can then apply filters to narrow down the results and find websites to pitch.

These filters are a good starting point:

  • Domain Rating: 30+. This weeds out super low authority websites.
  • Website traffic: 5000+. This weeds out websites with little or no traffic.
  • Published: Last 90 days. This weeds out websites that haven’t published content recently, which may be unresponsive to pitches.

You’ll also want to toggle the “One page per domain” box as there’s no point in reaching out to the same website multiple times.

1648465938 952 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

If there are too many websites to pitch, go to the Websites tab to see the top 100 websites by traffic. Pay particular attention to websites with multiple authors, as these are more likely to accept guest posts.

For example, Moz has 182 pages about SEO by 28 different authors, so chances are some of those are guest bloggers.

1648465938 780 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Podcast interviews are where you’re featured as an expert on a podcast and asked questions by the host.

Each one will only take around an hour of your time, and if you choose them wisely, backlinks are pretty much guaranteed. This is because most podcasts have episode pages on their website, which almost always link to the guest’s website and social profiles.

How to do it

You first need to find podcasts to pitch, which you can do by searching Google for top industry podcasts. Most of the results will be listicles, and Google also tends to show a podcasts carousel in the search results.

1648465939 202 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Before pitching, check the podcast’s episodes pages to make sure they link to their guests.

If you spot a prolific podcast interviewee (like our very own Tim Soulo) while browsing, paste their homepage into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, choose the “Exact URL” search mode, head to the Backlinks report, filter for results with “episode” in the referring page title, and sift through the results for relevant podcasts to pitch.

1648465940 320 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

You can be sure that any podcasts you discover using this method link to their guests.

Unlinked mentions are when people cite your brand (or anything related to your brand) online without linking to your website.

They’re low-hanging fruit in link building because you’re already halfway there. The person is already familiar with your brand so asking them to add a link to the mention is often enough to win the link.

How to do it

To find unlinked mentions, search for your brand in Content Explorer and add -site:yourwebsite.com

to exclude results from your site.

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Next, use the “highlight unlinked domains” feature to highlight pages from websites that haven’t linked to you, then export the results (make sure to tick the “Only pages with highlighted domains” box).

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Sift through the results in Excel or Google Sheets and reach out where it makes sense.

Recommended reading: A Simple Guide to Turning (Unlinked) Brand Mentions into Links

A link gap analysis reveals the websites linking to multiple competitors, but not you. It’s often easy to replicate these links because if someone’s linking to multiple competitors, it might make sense for them to link to you too.

How to do it

To run a link gap analysis, plug your homepage into Site Explorer (use the “Exact URL” mode), go to the Link Intersect report, and add a few competing homepages in the empty fields (set these to “URL” mode too).

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Look through the results for potentially replicable links.

For example, the website below links to two of our competitors. Looking at the links, we see that they’re both thanks to podcast interviews.

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1648465944 462 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Given that this host has interviewed two of our competitors, they might be interested in interviewing us too.

TIP

Keep your eyes peeled for common types of linking pages, as this can help you find more link prospects. For example, if your competitors have many links from podcasts, search for more podcasts and pitch them.

Stockist links come from companies whose products you stock and sell. These links are easy to get if you stock products from companies that list stockists on their websites.

How to do it

To find relevant stockists pages, find the websites of all the companies whose products you stock, then run this Google search for each of them: site:brand.com intitle:"stockists" OR intitle:"where to buy". You should see it in the search results if they have a stockist page.

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Here’s what that page looks like:

1648465944 963 How to Get Backlinks 15 Proven Tactics

Then it’s simply a case of reaching out and asking them to add you.

13. Utilize existing memberships

Organizations, communities, and clubs that you’re already a part of are arguably the lowest-hanging fruit in link building. This is because they often have team or advisory board pages where they’ll happily mention and link to you if you ask.

How to do it

To find opportunities, make a list of all organizations, communities, and clubs you’re a part of. This can be anything from a school parent advisory board to a local charity to a law association.

Next, find their websites and run this Google search for each one: site:theirwebsite.com intitle:team OR advisory.

It should pop up if they have a relevant page.

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Reach out and request a link where it makes sense.

Link roundups are curated lists of the best new content in an industry, usually from the past week or month. The authors of these posts are always on the lookout for worthy content to feature in their next roundup, so they’re an easy way to build links to new content.

How to do it

To find roundup posts, search Google for your topic followed by intitle:2022 intitle:"roundup" OR intitle:"round up".

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As there’s no point in pitching discontinued roundups, filter for search results from the past three months (Tools > Any time > Custom range > select the last three months on the calendar).

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Finally, check out the roundups and pitch relevant ones.

Internal backlinks are links from other pages on the same website. Many SEOs neglect internal links, which is a big mistake because they’re a powerful way to funnel ‘authority’ to the pages that need it. You also have full control over them—unlike external backlinks.

How to do it

To find pages that would benefit most from a boost, look for those that rank in positions 2–4 for their target keyword. You can do this in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Just plug in your site, go to the Organic Keywords report, and filter by position.

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Next, go to your project in Site Audit, click the Link Opportunities report, paste your page’s URL into the search box, and switch the dropdown to “Target page.”

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Sidenote.

You’ll need to set up a project and crawl your site using Site Audit first.

You should now see relevant places on your site to add internal links to your page.

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Recommended reading: Internal Links for SEO: An Actionable Guide

Final thoughts

Most of these tactics aren’t new or exciting, but they work—and that’s what counts. Just don’t try to do them all at once. Start with one, learn from it, perfect your approach, and build from there. Give me a shout on Twitter if you have any questions.




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No Algorithmic Actions For Site Reputation Abuse Yet

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Looking up at an angle at the Google sign on the Head Office for Canada

Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, has confirmed that the search engine hasn’t launched algorithmic actions targeting site reputation abuse.

This clarification addresses speculation within the SEO community that recent traffic drops are related to Google’s previously announced policy update.

Sullivan Says No Update Rolled Out

Lily Ray, an SEO professional, shared a screenshot on Twitter showing a significant drop in traffic for the website Groupon starting on May 6.

Ray suggested this was evidence that Google had begun rolling out algorithmic penalties for sites violating the company’s site reputation abuse policy.

However, Sullivan quickly stepped in, stating:

“We have not gone live with algorithmic actions on site reputation abuse. I well imagine when we do, we’ll be very clear about that. Publishers seeing changes and thinking it’s this — it’s not — results change all the time for all types of reasons.”

Sullivan added that when the actions are rolled out, they will only impact specific content, not entire websites.

This is an important distinction, as it suggests that even if a site has some pages manually penalized, the rest of the domain can rank normally.

Background On Google’s Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Earlier this year, Google announced a new policy to combat what it calls “site reputation abuse.”

This refers to situations where third-party content is published on authoritative domains with little oversight or involvement from the host site.

Examples include sponsored posts, advertorials, and partner content that is loosely related to or unrelated to a site’s primary purpose.

Under the new policy, Google is taking manual action against offending pages and plans to incorporate algorithmic detection.

What This Means For Publishers & SEOs

While Google hasn’t launched any algorithmic updates related to site reputation abuse, the manual actions have publishers on high alert.

Those who rely heavily on sponsored content or partner posts to drive traffic should audit their sites and remove any potential policy violations.

Sullivan’s confirmation that algorithmic changes haven’t occurred may provide temporary relief.

Additionally, his statements also serve as a reminder that significant ranking fluctuations can happen at any time due to various factors, not just specific policy rollouts.


FAQ

Will Google’s future algorithmic actions impact entire websites or specific content?

When Google eventually rolls out algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse, these actions will target specific content rather than the entire website.

This means that if certain pages are found to be in violation, only those pages will be affected, allowing other parts of the site to continue ranking normally.

What should publishers and SEOs do in light of Google’s site reputation abuse policy?

Publishers and SEO professionals should audit their sites to identify and remove any content that may violate Google’s site reputation abuse policy.

This includes sponsored posts and partner content that doesn’t align with the site’s primary purpose. Taking these steps can mitigate the risk of manual penalties from Google.

What is the context of the recent traffic drops seen in the SEO community?

Google claims the recent drops for coupon sites aren’t linked to any algorithmic actions for site reputation abuse. Traffic fluctuations can occur for various reasons and aren’t always linked to a specific algorithm update.


Featured Image: sockagphoto/Shutterstock



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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

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WP Rocket WordPress Plugin Now Optimizes LCP Core Web Vitals Metric

WP Rocket, the WordPress page speed performance plugin, just announced the release of a new version that will help publishers optimize for Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), an important Core Web Vitals metric.

Large Contentful Paint (LCP)

LCP is a page speed metric that’s designed to show how fast it takes for a user to perceive that the page is loaded and read to be interacted with. This metric measures the time it takes for the main content elements has fully loaded. This gives an idea of how usable a webpage is. The faster the LCP the better the user experience will be.

WP Rocket 3.16

WP Rocket is a caching plugin that helps a site perform faster. The way page caching generally works is that the website will store frequently accessed webpages and resources so that when someone visits the page the website doesn’t have to fetch the data from the database, which takes time, but instead will serve the webpage from the cache. This is super important when a website has a lot of site visitors because that can use a lot of server resources to fetch and build the same website over and over for every visitor.

The lastest version of WP Rocket (3.16) now contains Automatic LCP optimization, which means that it will optimize the on-page elements from the main content so that they are served first thereby raising the LCP scores and providing a better user experience.

Because it’s automatic there’s really nothing to fiddle around with or fine tune.

According to WP Rocket:

  • Automatic LCP Optimization: Optimizes the Largest Contentful Paint, a critical metric for website speed, automatically enhancing overall PageSpeed scores.
  • Smart Management of Above-the-Fold Images: Automatically detects and prioritizes critical above-the-fold images, loading them immediately to improve user experience and performance metrics.

All new functionalities operate seamlessly in the background, requiring no direct intervention from the user. Upon installing or upgrading to WP Rocket 3.16, these optimizations are automatically enabled, though customization options remain accessible for those who prefer manual control.”

Read the official announcement:

WP Rocket 3.16: Improving LCP and PageSpeed Score Automatically

Featured Image by Shutterstock/ICONMAN66

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint: A Step-By-Step Guide

This post was sponsored by DebugBear. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

Keeping your website fast is important for user experience and SEO.

The Core Web Vitals initiative by Google provides a set of metrics to help you understand the performance of your website.

The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:

This post focuses on the recently introduced INP metric and what you can do to improve it.

How Is Interaction To Next Paint Measured?

INP measures how quickly your website responds to user interactions – for example, a click on a button. More specifically, INP measures the time in milliseconds between the user input and when the browser has finished processing the interaction and is ready to display any visual updates on the page.

Your website needs to complete this process in under 200 milliseconds to get a “Good” score. Values over half a second are considered “Poor”. A poor score in a Core Web Vitals metric can negatively impact your search engine rankings.

Google collects INP data from real visitors on your website as part of the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX). This CrUX data is what ultimately impacts rankings.

Image created by DebugBear, May 2024

How To Identify & Fix Slow INP Times

The factors causing poor Interaction to Next Paint can often be complex and hard to figure out. Follow this step-by-step guide to understand slow interactions on your website and find potential optimizations.

1. How To Identify A Page With Slow INP Times

Different pages on your website will have different Core Web Vitals scores. So you need to identify a slow page and then investigate what’s causing it to be slow.

Using Google Search Console

One easy way to check your INP scores is using the Core Web Vitals section in Google Search Console, which reports data based on the Google CrUX data we’ve discussed before.

By default, page URLs are grouped into URL groups that cover many different pages. Be careful here – not all pages might have the problem that Google is reporting. Instead, click on each URL group to see if URL-specific data is available for some pages and then focus on those.

1716368164 358 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of Google Search Console, May 2024

Using A Real-User Monitoring (RUM) Service

Google won’t report Core Web Vitals data for every page on your website, and it only provides the raw measurements without any details to help you understand and fix the issues. To get that you can use a real-user monitoring tool like DebugBear.

Real-user monitoring works by installing an analytics snippet on your website that measures how fast your website is for your visitors. Once that’s set up you’ll have access to an Interaction to Next Paint dashboard like this:

1716368164 404 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Interaction to Next Paint dashboard, May 2024

You can identify pages you want to optimize in the list, hover over the URL, and click the funnel icon to look at data for that specific page only.

1716368164 975 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideImage created by DebugBear, May 2024

2. Figure Out What Element Interactions Are Slow

Different visitors on the same page will have different experiences. A lot of that depends on how they interact with the page: if they click on a background image there’s no risk of the page suddenly freezing, but if they click on a button that starts some heavy processing then that’s more likely. And users in that second scenario will experience much higher INP.

To help with that, RUM data provides a breakdown of what page elements users interacted with and how big the interaction delays were.

1716368164 348 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Elements view, May 2024

The screenshot above shows different INP interactions sorted by how frequent these user interactions are. To make optimizations as easy as possible you’ll want to focus on a slow interaction that affects many users.

In DebugBear, you can click on the page element to add it to your filters and continue your investigation.

3. Identify What INP Component Contributes The Most To Slow Interactions

INP delays can be broken down into three different components:

  • Input Delay: Background code that blocks the interaction from being processed.
  • Processing Time: The time spent directly handling the interaction.
  • Presentation Delay: Displaying the visual updates to the screen.

You should focus on which INP component is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time, and ensure you keep that in mind during your investigation.

1716368164 193 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP Components, May 2024

In this scenario, Processing Time is the biggest contributor to the slow INP time for the set of pages you’re looking at, but you need to dig deeper to understand why.

High processing time indicates that there is code intercepting the user interaction and running slow performing code. If instead you saw a high input delay, that suggests that there are background tasks blocking the interaction from being processed, for example due to third-party scripts.

4. Check Which Scripts Are Contributing To Slow INP

Sometimes browsers report specific scripts that are contributing to a slow interaction. Your website likely contains both first-party and third-party scripts, both of which can contribute to slow INP times.

A RUM tool like DebugBear can collect and surface this data. The main thing you want to look at is whether you mostly see your own website code or code from third parties.

1716368164 369 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Domain Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

Tip: When you see a script, or source code function marked as “N/A”, this can indicate that the script comes from a different origin and has additional security restrictions that prevent RUM tools from capturing more detailed information.

This now begins to tell a story: it appears that analytics/third-party scripts are the biggest contributors to the slow INP times.

5. Identify Why Those Scripts Are Running

At this point, you now have a strong suspicion that most of the INP delay, at least on the pages and elements you’re looking at, is due to third-party scripts. But how can you tell whether those are general tracking scripts or if they actually have a role in handling the interaction?

DebugBear offers a breakdown that helps see why the code is running, called the INP Primary Script Invoker breakdown. That’s a bit of a mouthful – multiple different scripts can be involved in slowing down an interaction, and here you just see the biggest contributor. The “Invoker” is just a value that the browser reports about what caused this code to run.

1716368165 263 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Primary Script Invoker Grouping in DebugBear, May 2024

The following invoker names are examples of page-wide event handlers:

  • onclick
  • onmousedown
  • onpointerup

You can see those a lot in the screenshot above, which tells you that the analytics script is tracking clicks anywhere on the page.

In contrast, if you saw invoker names like these that would indicate event handlers for a specific element on the page:

  • .load_more.onclick
  • #logo.onclick

6. Review Specific Page Views

A lot of the data you’ve seen so far is aggregated. It’s now time to look at the individual INP events, to form a definitive conclusion about what’s causing slow INP in this example.

Real user monitoring tools like DebugBear generally offer a way to review specific user experiences. For example, you can see what browser they used, how big their screen is, and what element led to the slowest interaction.

1716368165 545 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a Page View in DebugBear Real User Monitoring, May 2024

As mentioned before, multiple scripts can contribute to overall slow INP. The INP Scripts section shows you the scripts that were run during the INP interaction:

1716368165 981 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear INP script breakdown, May 2024

You can review each of these scripts in more detail to understand why they run and what’s causing them to take longer to finish.

7. Use The DevTools Profiler For More Information

Real user monitoring tools have access to a lot of data, but for performance and security reasons they can access nowhere near all the available data. That’s why it’s a good idea to also use Chrome DevTools to measure your page performance.

To debug INP in DevTools you can measure how the browser processes one of the slow interactions you’ve identified before. DevTools then shows you exactly how the browser is spending its time handling the interaction.

1716368165 526 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of a performance profile in Chrome DevTools, May 2024

How You Might Resolve This Issue

In this example, you or your development team could resolve this issue by:

  • Working with the third-party script provider to optimize their script.
  • Removing the script if it is not essential to the website, or finding an alternative provider.
  • Adjusting how your own code interacts with the script

How To Investigate High Input Delay

In the previous example most of the INP time was spent running code in response to the interaction. But often the browser is already busy running other code when a user interaction happens. When investigating the INP components you’ll then see a high input delay value.

This can happen for various reasons, for example:

  • The user interacted with the website while it was still loading.
  • A scheduled task is running on the page, for example an ongoing animation.
  • The page is loading and rendering new content.

To understand what’s happening, you can review the invoker name and the INP scripts section of individual user experiences.

1716368165 86 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the INP Component breakdown within DebugBear, May 2024

In this screenshot, you can see that a timer is running code that coincides with the start of a user interaction.

The script can be opened to reveal the exact code that is run:

1716368165 114 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of INP script details in DebugBear, May 2024

The source code shown in the previous screenshot comes from a third-party user tracking script that is running on the page.

At this stage, you and your development team can continue with the INP workflow presented earlier in this article. For example, debugging with browser DevTools or contacting the third-party provider for support.

How To Investigate High Presentation Delay

Presentation delay tends to be more difficult to debug than input delay or processing time. Often it’s caused by browser behavior rather than a specific script. But as before, you still start by identifying a specific page and a specific interaction.

You can see an example interaction with high presentation delay here:

1716368165 665 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the an interaction with high presentation delay, May 2024

You see that this happens when the user enters text into a form field. In this example, many visitors pasted large amounts of text that the browser had to process.

Here the fix was to delay the processing, show a “Waiting…” message to the user, and then complete the processing later on. You can see how the INP score improves from May 3:

1716368165 845 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of an Interaction to Next Paint timeline in DebugBear, May 2024

Get The Data You Need To Improve Interaction To Next Paint

Setting up real user monitoring helps you understand how users experience your website and what you can do to improve it. Try DebugBear now by signing up for a free 14-day trial.

1716368165 494 Optimizing Interaction To Next Paint A Step By Step GuideScreenshot of the DebugBear Core Web Vitals dashboard, May 2024

Google’s CrUX data is aggregated over a 28-day period, which means that it’ll take a while before you notice a regression. With real-user monitoring you can see the impact of website changes right away and get alerted automatically when there’s a big change.

DebugBear monitors lab data, CrUX data, and real user data. That way you have all the data you need to optimize your Core Web Vitals in one place.

This article has been sponsored by DebugBear, and the views presented herein represent the sponsor’s perspective.

Ready to start optimizing your website? Sign up for DebugBear and get the data you need to deliver great user experiences.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Redesign.co. Used with permission.

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