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The Small Business Reputation Management Guide

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The Small Business Reputation Management Guide

When you hear the phrase “reputation management” your mind might conjure ideas of crisis talks and PR executives looking flustered.

You might imagine boardrooms of busy lawyers and a stressed CEO.

In reality, good reputation management starts long before – and hopefully in lieu of – any PR nightmares.

Reputation management is about making sure your business is highly regarded within its industry by its customers and the general public.

A good reputation management strategy will extend to both the online and offline, but for the sake of this guide, we’ll be focusing on the ways that small businesses can protect and bolster their image online.

Who Should Have A Reputation Management Strategy?

It might feel like a reputation management strategy is only needed by large, public-facing companies. This just isn’t the case.

Any company can be the subject of negative reviews, competitor takedowns, and plain, old misunderstandings. You don’t need to be in a particularly litigious sector or have controversial staff.

Online reputation management is about enabling your business to own as much of the space where it’s being talked about as possible. It enables you to steer conversations about your brand. You can identify and rectify any brewing issues.

Customers

If you have customers, whether B2B or B2C, you are likely subject to reviews. As such, it is really important that you have a reputation management plan in place to deal with any negative reviews or press.

Competitors

If you have particularly aggressive competitors, you might be subject to negative attacks on social media or through reviews.

Just because you haven’t had any trouble with your current competitors doesn’t mean you won’t in the future.

Having a plan in place for how to deal with any negative attacks if they arise can save you a lot of trouble down the line.

Employees

As much as you try to value and honor your employees, sometimes working relationships can sour. Disgruntled employees can be very damaging to a brand.

It’s important that, if you work with staff or contractors, you fully understand the impact they could have on your business’s reputation.

Where Online Should You Focus Your Strategy?

It will not just be the obvious places like social media that you need to consider in your reputation management. There are many places online where both positive and negative brand influences can spread.

Search Engines

Search engines are often the first port of call when a potential consumer or journalist is trying o find out more about your organization.

When your brand is searched for, your website is likely to only take up one or two positions on the search engine results pages (SERPs). There will be many other spaces on the front page of the results where other mentions of your brand will be ranking.

These can be purely informational, like directories, or they could be more influential, like press articles or pages about your brand on competitors’ sites.

Review Sites

There are plenty of sites online that provide consumers with places to share their experiences of your brand, both positive and negative.

These might be industry-specific, as part of marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, or more general, like Trustpilot and Yelp.

Search Engine Profiles

Beyond the pages that mention your brand that the search engines are ranking, there are also features like Bing Places and Google Business Profile that have information about your business and allow reviews to be left.

These profiles may not even have been set up by you, they may have been created by the search engines themselves based on data they have taken from other trusted sources.

Social Media

Your brand is likely being talked about on social media sites if you are a B2C business – even if you don’t have a presence on the platform.

Your customers might be speaking about you and not tagging you.

Social media is a great place to get a sense of what the general sentiment around your brand is, but remember that opinions move quickly on social.

Forums

Platforms like Reddit are almost social media lite.

They allow users to discuss brands and experiences with products and services, all anonymously.

More specialist forums specific to your industry will likely have entire boards dedicated to particular issues with brands and their services.

Why Is Reputation Management Important?

Many potential customers go online to find out more about a business before they engage with it. They may be looking specifically for others’ complaints and problems – or they might be looking for information about your opening hours.

Regardless, if they search your brand and see negative reviews and comments, it may be the difference between winning that new customer and losing them.

Similarly, if a current customer comes across stories of problems with your brand whilst on a forum or social media platform, it will likely color their own experiences with you.

A PR crisis is an obvious reason to care about your reputation, but by the time the media is running with a story, it’s often too late to limit the damage.

When Should You Consider A Reputation Management Strategy?

You need to work on your plan to proactively protect and build your brand’s reputation now. The more you can help to influence the conversations around your company now, the easier it is to present a positive image in the long term.

This means monitoring your brand’s mentions online – not just waiting to be alerted via a social media tag, but carrying out a full audit now and regularly monitoring mentions going forwards.

You should assign a member of your team who can carry out regular checks and also empower them with the right tools to automate it where possible.

This doesn’t have to be expensive; Google Alerts allows brands to select terms they want to be alerted to when they are used online. As a minimum, set these up for your brand name and the names of any well-known people in your company.

How To Audit Your Reputation

Your first step should be to carry out an audit of your brand’s reputation to find out what is being said about you.

Search For Your Brand

Go to the major search engines for your country and search for your brand. See what comes up in the search results.

How much of the first page of the search results are webpages, social media profiles, and review pages that your business controls? The goal is to have as much of that front page of your brand’s search results controlled by your company as possible.

Carrying this out for Search Engine Journal on Google shows the company’s own website, a Google Knowledge Graph entry, and a People Also Ask section.

Screenshot from search for [search engine journal], Google, May 2023

Knowledge Graph

The Google Knowledge Graph is something that your business cannot control directly, but can influence.

If, when looking for your brand, you notice that yours is incorrect or missing entirely, I’d recommend reviewing Dixon Jones’ excellent guide on the Knowledge Graph here and Aleh Barysevich’s guide here.

People Also Ask

The People Also Ask section on Google SERPs is a great way of quickly identifying any negative sentiment about your brand.

For example, if your brand search reveals a People Also Ask section that contains questions like “Is [company] a scam?” or “Is [company] expensive?” you know that there is potentially some negative sentiment surrounding your brand.

If these negative People Also Ask questions are appearing on your brand search, it is imperative that you see what the SERPs or those questions look like. If they are not positive, you need to try to rank your own content as an answer to those questions.

This will give you the opportunity to give a more favorable answer than is currently being ranked.

Be Brave And Look For The Negative Press

Search for your brand plus “reviews/scam/alternatives/pricing” and look at what is ranking in the SERPs. Also, check if that changes the People Also Ask questions to something more divisive.

You may well uncover some reviews or forums that you aren’t even aware of through these sorts of searches, but they will help you identify if there is more negative content about your brand out there online.

Search Engine Profiles

When searching on Google you may notice your Business Profile appear. This is something that you can directly control.

You are able to correct any misinformation on factual items like opening times and location, but you can also flag inappropriate reviews and answer questions.

It’s very important to keep on top of these business profiles and make sure that you are answering any questions that are asked through them so that the general public, who can also answer them, doesn’t give misleading or unfavorable responses.

Bing Places and Apple Maps are other common business profiles that you may have set up and forgotten about, or that were set up automatically. Make sure you are checking these regularly.

Social Media

Go to each of the main social media platforms that are popular in the countries where your customers are located. This might not just be the platforms you have a profile on.

A search of your brand will help you to identify if you are already being spoken about.

Look at competitors’ accounts, too, and see if they are receiving mentions with your brand included. You may notice favorable or unfavorable comparisons, or recommendations to switch to or from your business.

Reddit And Forums

Reddit is partially a forum and partially a social media platform.

Don’t forget about it when you are auditing your online reputation. Try to be a part of the communities (subreddits) that discuss your industry, or if you are a local business, review what’s being said on your town or city’s subreddit.

You might not be named directly but alluded to as part of these local conversations. For instance, “the shop at the end of the road on King Street” and therefore might not find your business being talked about through a brand search only.

Screenshot of London subredditScreenshot from Reddit, May 2023

 

In a similar way, make sure you are keeping up with what is being discussed on industry or location-relevant forums online.

Look At Comparison Pages

Whilst you are reviewing what the SERPs say about your brand, you might notice a few of your competitors are comparing your brand with theirs. Comparison pages are not that uncommon, especially in service software and technology industries.

If the comparisons are inaccurate or unjust, you may wish to contact your competitor and have them rectify the information.

If they are outright untrue and your competitor is not willing to correct the misinformation, you may need to seek legal advice.

Own A Presence Wherever You Can Where You Are Being Talked About

A very proactive approach to reputation management for smaller businesses is simply making sure you own a profile wherever your business is likely to be talked about. For example, claim social media profiles on the main platforms where you are being discussed.

This gives you a central place to monitor mentions and also correct misinformation. It will also help you to dominate the first page of the organic SERPs on Google and Bing.

These high-authority social media sites’ brand-owned profiles often rank highly for relevant brand searches.

If you can claim or set up a profile on your relevant review, directory, and comparison sites, you will be able to respond to negative comments and reviews.

You can also answer questions asked about your company that might otherwise be answered by competitors or the public.

Deal Well With Reviews

Something that sounds simple but often doesn’t play out as intended is taking the high road with unfavorable reviews.

It can be hard to respond politely when you receive a review from a disgruntled customer complaining that the music in your café was too loud, or there were too many families at your play center.

It’s rare that a company biting back at negative reviews will come out of the fight unscathed.

Respond Positively To Unfavorable Reviews!

Have a process in place to deal with negative reviews. Assign one or two people who are trusted to respond well.

They will likely need to be fairly senior in the company so that they can objectively investigate the complaint but also offer remediation if necessary.

Have a complaints and escalation process defined and available to your customers. This is to give them an avenue to voice their concerns before it gets as far as a negative review.

Always respond in a way that is polite and reassuring. Remember, you are not just replying to the reviewer but to everyone who reads that review going forwards.

Own up to your company’s mistakes, offer an effective solution, and remain calm!

There may be instances where reviews are entirely unfair or not grounded in fact. You can be honest in your responses to these reviews but remember to be polite and understanding.

A good test is to consider, “Would I say this to them on stage in front of 100 people?”

Know When A Review Goes Against A Platform’s Guidelines

Most review and comparison sites have rules around the type of reviews they will allow on the site. Make yourself familiar with what these are.

This way, if you do receive an untrue or inappropriate review you may be able to flag it for removal.

Respond Positively To Favorable Reviews

Another way to project a strong brand image is to respond to your positive reviews too.

Take the time to thank reviewers and pick out aspects of their review that meant a lot to you and your company.

This will likely help them to remain loyal customers, but will also encourage others to leave positive reviews too.

Have A Crisis Strategy In Place

Reputation management sometimes means dealing with sudden, unexpected negativity. A complaint might make it into the local newspaper, or an unflattering comment might go viral online.

It is always better to plan ahead and know what steps you would take in the event of a PR crisis, rather than waiting until it happens.

At the very least, you may need to consider:

  • Who would be authorized to comment to the media – Choose someone senior, respectful, and able to cope with being interviewed. Make sure that they are given some media training and are well-versed with the company’s employment and health and safety policies.
  • Devise a robust complaints escalation process – This should include who takes ownership of investigating complaints and who is responsible for responding to them.
  • Have some pre-approved responses or tone of voice guides to help.
  • Communicate to the whole team what they are or aren’t allowed to say to the media and what to do if they receive a complaint.

Be Proactive In Presenting A Positive Image

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the best way a small business can manage its reputation is to work at gaining a positive one.

Support Local Causes

You can get a lot of good press, and deservedly so, by investing in your local community.

Sponsoring a kids’ sports team or working with charities in your area can be beneficial in showing your potential consumers what you stand for and how much you care.

Be Politically And Culturally Aware

Seemingly innocuous comments online from your company, or even what your corporate social accounts re-share or like, can be seen as an endorsement of a particular political or social view.

Be mindful of this when using the internet to engage with your audience.

What might seem like a well-timed joke or topical comment could backfire massively. Make sure your digital marketing team is sensitive and caring in their approach to engagement.

Have Robust Employee Social Media Guides In Place

Your employees may be seen as an extension of your brand. Not only can they be your biggest advocates they also can be seen as speaking on behalf of the company.

You may want to look at social media policies and guidelines to help your employees know what is and isn’t acceptable for them to say, either formally or informally, about your brand.

Make sure to do this in conjunction with local legal advice to make sure you aren’t overstepping your boundaries as an employer.

Conclusion

The simplest way for your small business to manage your reputation is to be proactive and not reactive.

Plan what to do in an emergency and work hard to ensure that never comes about.

Think of everywhere your customers and potential customers might be talking about you, and keep up with those conversations.

Take time to really listen to complaints and respond to them in a way that turns detractors into supporters.

More resources:


Featured Image: Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock



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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.


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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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