Back in April, Google brought Google+ comments to Blogger. At first, many bloggers did not understand why Google was trying to make a play at commenting systems, when others like Gravatar, Livefyre and Disqus had already taken over the market. After using the new system, however, many bloggers found that it’s integration with Google+ was too good to pass up.

 Given Google’s history of bias towards its own systems, it really does make sense for small time bloggers to make the change to Google+ comments. Google Authorship has already proven to increase click-through-rates (CTR), and it adds increased social exposure to smaller, less-known bloggers. Blogs that are popular on Google+ have generally done well in Google SERPs (search engine results pages), so its own natural to assume that the Google+ comment system could have some added SEO value along with it. In the short time since its release, a few smart developers have even found a way to integrate it in WordPress. This is great news for bloggers, but there are a few things to consider before we all start converting our comment system to Google+ comments.

Google+ Comments Cons

As far as WordPress goes, there is no official Google+ Comments plugin, as the commenting system was designed for blogger. Smart developers were able to modify the code to get a good chunk of the commenting functionality into the WordPress plugin, but there are some features that will not work, such as comment notification. If you have a large blog with thousands of posts, having to check Google+ (or the individual post pages) for new comments could become overwhelming. Because these plugins are unofficial, there is always the risk that Google will decide to close the backdoor that allowed developers to package the commenting system in a WordPress plugin.
Google has the power to do this, and can choose to do so at any moment. Not everyone uses Google+, so they may be reluctant to log in to leave a comment. This might deter some readers from leaving comments on your site. A good alternative to all of these problems is to offer your readers the option to leave comments in other commenting systems, such as the native commenting system, Livefyre, Disqus, or whatever system you had previously been using. Another negative to Google+ comments is that the comments themselves are in an iframe, which means that search engine bots will not crawl the content and will not index it as part of your web page, as they would with native WordPress comments.
This may or may not be a bad thing, but there are a lot of useful conversations that take place in comment sections that are often advantageous to the content author when it comes to ranking for certain keywords in search engines.

Google+ Comments Pros

We already discussed how Google has shown strong preference towards its own platforms and services before, so there is no reason to believe that it won’t again this time. Social signals continue to play an increasingly large role in SEO, and if bloggers could get a leg up by using a new commenting system, why wouldn’t they? What is really nice about Google+ commenting is the built-in integration with Google+. Your readers can comment on your post, and simultaneously share the content to their circles. Your reader can then keep up with the conversation either on the blog post itself, or on their own Google+ feed. It’s incredibly convenient for both authors, contributors and commenters alike.

You may be wondering How to Add Google+ Comments to WordPress and Blogger. Here is the tutorial to add Google+ comments to WordPress and blogger.

Enabling Google+ Comments in Blogger

First we’ll discuss how to add the Google+ Commenting system to Blogger. Depending on if you have an existing blog, or are creating a new one, the steps will be slightly different.

New Blog

  1. Log into Blogger and select the blog you wish to add Google+ comments to.
  2. On the left side, select Google+. Next, on the right side of the screen, select “Use Google+ Comments on this blog.”

 

    That’s all there is to it – your Google+ comments will now display on your posts.

    Existing Blog

    1. Log into Blogger and select the blog you wish to add Google+ comments to.
    2. On the left side, select Google+. Next, on the right side, click the Getting started button.

    3. A Connect to Google+ page will be displayed on the screen. This page explains that you will be switching your author profile from Blogger to Google+. Scroll down the page, check the box to accept the agreement, and click Switch Now.

     

    4. Choose the blog(s) you want to add to your Google+ profile, and click Add Blog.

    5. Back on the admin page, click the Google+ link on the sidebar again. Check the box on the right side of the page to that states Use Google+ Comments on this blog.

      Google+ comments should now be enabled on your blog. If you don’t see them, be sure that you have not disabled comments previously by modifying a template file. If you have commented out some code previously, un-comment it out at this time, or rest the template to its default.

      Adding Google+ Comments to WordPress

      Developers smarter than I am have found ways to package Google+ comments as a WordPress plugin. There are a handful out there, and some work better than others. I have worked with two in particular that work pretty well.

      • Google+ Comments – Works as advertised. Comes with a few options (width of comment area, hide or show comments, comment area shortcode, and a few more.
      • Google+ Comments for WordPress – Works excellent and allows for other commenting systems at the same time. The only problem with this plugin is that it requires PHP 5.3+. I have first hand experience with Bluehost shared hosting servers that come with PHP 5.2.17, so the plugin is not able to be used. In these situations, I opt for the first plugin.

      Adding Google+ comments to WordPress is extremely easy – all you have to do is install the plugin, activate it, and tweak the settings to your liking. You can be up and running with Google+ comments on your WordPress blog in a matter of minutes. The jury is still out as to what effect (if any) Google’s newest brainchild will have on the web, but one thing is for sure – Google is continuing to make a push for a more unified and integrated web. I believe it is up to each blogger to decide for themselves if Google+ comments are right for their blog.

      About the Author

      Brad Knutson is a web developer, designer and SEO. He is proficient in WordPress, and enjoys getting his hands dirty in code. Connect with him on Twitter and Google+!

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