Toward the end of of 2021, we started to see a problem with site views on Discourse installations. This appears to be a result of changes to the Google Page experience.
Changes are taking place in this timeframe:
- August 2021 – mobile
- February 2022 – start rollout on desktop
- March 2022 – complete rollout on desktop
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): Measures loading performance. To provide a good user experience, strive to have LCP occur within the first 2.5 seconds of the page starting to load.
- First Input Delay (FID): Measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, strive to have an FID of less than 100 milliseconds.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): Measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, strive to have a CLS score of less than 0.1.
We’re seeing an LCP of longer than 4s on mobile
There’s a large number of other factors, including mobile friendliness. Discourse gets good marks for mobile-friendly test in general.
However, the lengths of the forum posts and the image-heavy category threads are causing problems. This problem may get worse as the desktop page experience starts to factor into the ranking in February.
Source of LCP Problems
The problem is not with CPU load or network utilization.
Problem with Using Discourse as a Blog Versus Forum
One of the problems with our Discourse management is that we attempted to use Discourse as a type of blog. This means that there are a small number of high traffic topics.
Strategies to Improve SEO
One of the strategies we’ve implemented is to integrate WordPress and Discourse together.