Friday Finds – Google Plus Commenting System

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This post is part of the weekly series, Friday Finds, featuring news that deserves a closer look. Today’s finds focus on installing the Google+ Commenting system on your WordPress blog. Some well-known bloggers have been addressing this issue recently and it’s a topic that deserves our attention. Let’s take a look at 3 articles that will give you some insight on some of the pros and cons that have been raised and a little background info that I’ve gleaned after taking a closer look.

Some Simple Background on the Google+ Commenting System

FYI – you’ll find greater details by reading the articles that I’m highlighting this week but a brief recap of the Google+ Commenting system is:

  • Your visitors must have a Google Plus account to leave a comment.
  • There is no direct SEO value to using this system. (Although, there could be benefits from social signals.)
  • Comments that are left are stored on Google and are not part of your SQL database. (Google owns those comments not you. If you turn the system off, the comments no longer appear on your blog.)
  • If you switch to this system from CommentLuv, some of your readers  may be disheartened by no longer having the do-follow backlink to their blog.
  • You can run the Google+ Commenting system alongside your current commenting system. (It definitely works with the CommentLuv plugin. If you have read that there are compatibility issues with another system, please let me know.)

Ms. Ileane Smith’s Announcement on Basic Blog Tips

Ileane Smith (a well-respected blogger and early advocate of the CommentLuv commenting system) recently caused some ripples in the blogosphere when she announced that she was (at least temporarily) moving to the Google+ Commenting system and disabling the CommentLuv features of  the CommentLuv Premium plugin on her site.

In her post, Ileane makes it clear that CommentLuv is still a worthy option and she mentions that it’s a “fantastic” plugin but she also mentions that a lot of her peers have been switching their commenting systems. Ileane’s post  makes for some interesting reading along with a lively dialogue in the comments.

Kim Castleberry’s How-To Article on Adding Google+ Comments to WordPress

Most of you probably know Kim Castleberry as a respected resource. Kim specialties include WordPress and Facebook as well as a wealth of other talents. In this post, Kim provides instructions for adding the Google+ commenting system:

  • Using code
  • Using the Thesis theme
  • Using the Genesis theme
  • Using a WordPress plugin

Kimberly also addreses the question about whether or not the Google+ Commenting system has any SEO value. (Because it runs in an iframe, it does not. Although, there could be some benefit indirectly through social signals.)

Kim Castleberry’s SEO Explanation on Ileane Smith’s Blog

You may have already seen the detailed explanation that Kim left regarding the potential SEO benefit (or lack of benefit) from using Google+ comments. One conversation occurred on Ileane’s blog and it goes as such:

Kimberly Castleberry explains SEO benefit of Google+ Comments

7 Reasons for Not Replacing CommentLuv with the Google+ Commenting System

Suresh Khanal’s post Why Google+ Comment System Can’t Replace CommentLuv? builds a well thought out case for not switching from the  CommentLuv plugin (which runs on the native WordPress commenting system). He takes a closer look at the database, SEO and spam issues that are being raised.

In Suresh’s reply to the comment I left regarding SEO, he mentions how there may be some SEO benefits from Google’s system because their algorithm  counts social signals:

Suresh Khanal explains SEO benefit of Google+ Comments

Suresh closes his post stating:

I may replace native comment system with Google+ commenting system when these issues are addressed. May be there will be plugins available in near future that enters comment to the blog database in addition to submitting to Google+. Until then, I think, it will be like  jumping off a cliff into the great unknown!

Over to You:

What do you think? Have you installed the Google Plus commenting system on your blog? Do you plan to? Do you think it’s a good idea to keep the system that you’re using now and add Google+ to it? Personally, at this point, I agree with Suresh. At least for now, I’m sticking with CommentLuv Premium and I’ll continue following the discussions.

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Published by Sherryl Perry

Welcome! If you're looking for help building an Internet presence that fits your needs and works for you, you're in the right place. I blog common sense articles about WordPress, social media and SEO. My goal is to help small business owners and entrepreneurs understand their core business. Together, we can develop and implement business strategies that make sense to you.

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  1. Would you please provide a way to install google plus commenting system for blogger hosted blog? It will be really appreciated. Coz, Default installation process to install google+ commenting system doesn’t work for blogger blogs with custom domain.

    1. Nazmul,
      I don’t use Blogger but I did a quick search and it is possible to install the Google+ commenting system if you’re using a custom domain on Blogger but there is an issue with the timing. My understanding is that if you have Google+ comments on your blog and then change your domain name, you’ll lose the existing comments.

      Have you already installed Google’s commenting system? I’m not sure that I understand what issue you’re having. Did you try searching Google’s online help? This FAQ page may help you: https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/3007761?hl=en.

  2. Hey Sherryl, thanks a lot for sharing the post with us. I was thinking of replacing my CommentLuv commenting system with Google+. But thank God I read your post, my traffic would have received a big blow. I would have regretted it later, thanks again dear.

    1. You’re welcome Jack. Things may change in the future but for now I honestly don’t understand why some bloggers are moving to it. The only argument that I’ve heard that makes sense to me is if the blogger is in a niche where the vast majority of their readers are already on Google+. Otherwise, you’re throwing up an obstacle for someone who wants to comment. (Unless you run 2 commenting systems which could be confusing.) Then, if there’s a chance that you might change your mind and stop using it. There’s just to much in flux right now.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us.

  3. I’ve been wanting to change my comment system since I use what came with my WordPress 2012 theme. I had to turn off the option to follow comments by email when I recently started to use MailChimp to send my posts. I don’t think I’ll use G+ since the comments would disappear if I decided to stop using it.

    1. I noticed that you used MailChimp to send your posts Jeri. I wonder what the conflict is. (I’m not aware of a commenting system that’s built into a WordPress theme.) I’m using the default WP commenting system with CommentLuv on top of it.

      1. Oh, what I use then is just the default WordPress commenting system with CommentLuv on top of it as well. But since I imported the subscriber email addresses into MailChimp of those who had been getting my posts via WordPress email, I had to disable how the JetPack plug-in was mailing those posts, otherwise they would get duplicate emails. So now that JetPack is disabled there is no longer the option to follow comments via email. I’ve been thinking about switching to Discus or some other blog commenting system.

        1. I’m not a fan of JetPack. The easiest solution would be for you to replace the JetPack plugin with a Subscribe to Comments plugin. I haven’t any personal experience using the “Subscribe To Comments Reloaded” plugin but it’s been updated recently, has a significant amount of downloads and a good rating. (If the plugin that I use doesn’t get updated soon, I’ll probably try replacing it with that one.)

          1. I wasn’t familiar with ‘subscribe-to-comments-reloaded’, so I took at look.

            The description says that it solves most of the problems with Mark Jaquith’s ‘subscribe-to-comments’, which I use.

            Mark is a Lead Developer on the WordPress core software.

            I looked at the support tab for the two plugins, and I recommend people take a look at both plugins before coming to a decision about which to use.

            (I also use Mark’s ‘page-links-to’ plugin that allows you to make a WordPress page or post link to a URL of your choosing. I find this very useful for setting up tabs in the navigation bar that link from the blog to the main site.)

            1. David,
              I did not know that Mark Jaquith is a Lead Developer on the WP core software team. That’s good to know. I get a little nervous when plugins haven’t been updated in a while. (Whenever something gets a little funky on my site, I look at that first.) Since Mark is the author, I’m not going to worry about that one now.

              As for the page-links-to plugin, I’ll have to check that one too. Thanks so much for the info!

  4. Today is the first time I’ve actually come across the G+ commenting system. I use CommentLuv and am pretty attached to that…so I will likely not make the switch, although I do see the perks. There’s just too many “what ifs” when it comes to Google products, so I don’t know if I’d make the leap.

    1. Kristin, I’m not in any hurry to switch from CommentLuv. Not owning our comments was the final decision maker for me. Plus, making your website visitors sign into a Google+ account is another barrier that I don’t want to put up.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation.

    2. I have noticed that many bloggers change their comment system and get far fewer comments. Of course, many of the comments that are lost are low quality ones from SEO linkbuilders. However, some good commentors seem to disappear too. A lot of times it isn’t even commentors that care about a link at all. It just seems that they have to go through the hassle of creatring a new account (Disqus etc.) and don’t feel like doing so. I don’t know that it is really worth it. It seems to make more sense to just filer the spam out.

      1. Personally, I hate having to jump through hoops to leave a comment. Unless I personally know the blogger, the odds are good that I’ll quickly give up and move on. I feel the same way as you do about just filtering out the spam. It takes time but the effort can be worth it.

  5. Hi Sherryl, there is quite a buzz about replacing your old commenting systems with the new ones, but I thought of doing some research before jumping to any conclusion. Reading your post I realized that I took the right decision, since Google+ will not affect my seo in any way I actually would not think of adding it up. Thanks for sharing Suresh’s reply with us.

  6. Hi Sherryl, I still use the CommentLuv commenting system but I too am noticing the trend, more and more people are trying out new commenting systems. As for me I am happy with CommentLuv, but I am thinking of adding Google+ to it to see the difference. Thanks for sharing the post.

  7. Thanks for the news! I think Google+ comment system will help good interaction among other Google + users to increase traffic. I heard that the Google comment system enabled for blogger . it is a great advantage for WordPress blogger!

    1. One of the drawbacks to using Google’s commenting system is the fact that you have to be a registered Google+ user. If your blog targets other bloggers, you may be okay but it does present a barrier to commenting.

  8. Hi Sherryl,

    Thank you very much for the mention.

    You’ve nicely summarized and accumulated the different views over the blogosphere. It proves to be a great resource to give a quick and observed look at Google+ commenting system.

    I see using Google+ comments is collecting lots of ‘no comment at all’ type of text to display – good post, liked it …. and in many case no text simply a message that somebody shared the post! Lol, why would I be interested to display all those things that does not serve the discussion on topic?

    I’ll still wait for some more time how it all develops.

    1. Hi Suresh,
      You’re welcome. As soon as I read your article, I knew I had to include it. Before reading your post, I was aware of the lack of direct SEO benefits but I hadn’t realized that the comments would be updating Google and not our own database. That’s huge. I found myself nodding my head in agreement as I was reading your article. 🙂

      I’m with you. I’m leaving CommentLuv installed and I’ll wait and see what develops. Thanks so much for dropping by and weighing in on this.

  9. Really interesting information, Sherryl. Am in two minds about if I should add Google + commenting system to my blog or not. Don’t wish to get rid of Comment Luv just yet.

    The big catch is that people have to have a Google + account to comment.

    Have a feeling we are seeing a development of Google “forcing” people to join Google + in order to get up high on Google search. Slowly but surely we may be getting to there. So in the future we may all have to use the Google + commenting system:-)

    1. Catarina,
      Signs are pointing towards Google (if not “forcing”) making it highly desirable to use their products in an effort to help get higher rankings in the SERPs. I’m sticking with CommentLuv for now too but I have a feeling there’s going to continue to be a lot of developments around this system.

  10. Thank you for the overview. I will stick with the native commenting system plus CommentLuv.

    I have implemented G+ commenting on my Blogger blog. I did it as an experiment and that’s OK because Blogger is part of Google anyway.

    However, it feels like the whole system is upside down – where the G+ page is ‘home’ rather than my site being ‘home’.

    With all the non-native commenting systems – IntenseDebate, Livefyre, Disqus, Facebook, G+ – surely the first question to ask is why and for whose benefit they were they invented?

    1. That’s an excellent question David. I think a lot of us expect either Google to make changes or for 3rd parties to develop solutions that address the concerns that a lot of us have. I can’t envision there being a way to circumvent registering with Google+ to leave a comment though and that’s a barrier to many.

      Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  11. Like any external commenting system for WordPress there are pros and cons, if you are using Blogspot I would say ditch the horrible default commenting system and start using Google Plus for commenting, if using WordPress there is no official Google Plus plugin yet, so everything so far is unofficial and comes with potential issues, like the lack of comments showing up in source code which can provide less value for SEO.

    My preference is still for Disqus, with over a billion comments per month left on Disqus network it is by far the largest network and allows people to sign in from virtually every other social network and the comments are synced to WordPress and show up in HTML source code. It doesn’t offer the love of CommentLuv but has benefits in other ways that no other commenting system can touch in my opinion.

    1. Justin,
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on Disqus. That’s exactly the sort of input I was hoping for. Disqus is a highly respected commenting system and definitely worthy of consideration. I’m sure some of my readers will find your input valuable.

  12. Sherryl, I’ve been watching this transformation on blogs to see how the comment systems are going. I’m staying with CommentLuv but may add Google+ to it in the future. I did try Google+ on a small nature blog I have but no one left comments because they were not on Google+. So it depends on the industry. For tech, SEO and social it could be the wave of the future. I think the jury is still out on this one. Thanks for sharing the research you did here and have a great weekend.

    1. That’s a great point about the industry Lisa. Most of the bloggers I know who have made the switch are blogging to bloggers. I’m sticking with CommentLuv too – at least for now. Not owning my comments is big to me. You have a nice weekend too and thanks for dropping by. (Now, to check out your post. The title is enticing. 🙂 )

  13. Hello Sherryl,

    The Google+ comment system was originally meant for the Blogger platform, and being a blogger on that platform, I do not use it due to the following reasons (used it for a few days) :

    1) It looked like the discussion was taking place outside my blog. I didn’t like that thing.
    2) I had no control over the system. I don’t have a problem with 3rd party comment systems, because I use Intense Debate, but Intense Debate gives more control to the admin than Google+. Atleast that’s what I felt.

    That’s why after trying it for a few days, I turned it off.

  14. Hi Sherryl,

    It seems the debate is heating on. It will be around for many months, I think.

    I want to emphasize two things:

    1. “a lot of her peers have been switching their commenting systems”.
    Is this a solid reason to give up something that helped you a lot and still bring results? This means more like: I’m doing this because a lot of other people do.

    One of the most important things I learned in the online world is not to trust the “mainstream wisdom”. Everybody does that. When I hear such a thing I become very careful. In most cases what everybody does has little or no value.
    You need to see for yourself, to use your reason and test things. When you test things you’ll see firsthand what works and what not. Is good to know what other people think but if you organize your life according to the public opinion you’ll end up nowhere.

    2. I have to mention one more reason not to quit CommentLuv. It can help a new site grow very fast. I doubt that GooglePlus has this ability. What you can achieve with CommentLuv in 2-3 months would probably require a year of working in GooglePlus. How fast can a new site grow only by using CommentLuv? Anyone who wants to know that can find the data on my site.

    Have a nice day

    1. Silviu,
      I’m with you on not implementing a tactic simply because others are doing it. (BTW – I’ve written several posts on how to tracking changes in your strategies.) I’m keeping an eye on this one though in part because I’ve heard rumblings about SEO and Google possibly having issues with CommentLuv. (I have not read anything “official” yet.) At the very least, I’m trying to be more diligent about removing (best to not allow them in the first place) CL links to sites that I don’t want to be associated with. Also, I’ve run Andy Bailey’s CommentLuv Link Cleaner to check for broken links (that cause 404 errors). As you say this “debate” will be around for months. At least it’s an interesting one!

  15. I am not really a fan of 3rd party comment systems or whatever it is we call them. I don’t like sites that use 2 systems at the same time. Like Google+ and WordPress comments, or Facebook and WordPress comments. It clutters the page, adds confusion, and looks ugly in my opinion.

    Social signal benefit or not I am not ready to take the plunge and bow to Google.

    1. Ray,
      I agree with you that using 2 commenting systems at once is confusing. I honestly don’t understand why people are moving to Google’s system but I’m trying to keep an open mind.

  16. Five years from now when google discontinues its commenting system because its not making enough money all those bloggers using the system will be very bummed out! Ill keep comment luv, just because my readers really seem to like it.

    1. Heather,
      Google created their blog commenting system for their Blogger clients not for self-hosted WordPress sites. So, I’m having trouble understanding the appeal of it to some well-known bloggers. There may be a plan to update our database in the future but for now, I’m definitely not installing it.

  17. Hi Sherryl,

    I will not be using Google + system as I can’t see any real advantage, especially as it adds a barrier to those wanting to comment as they have to have an account or log in versus just commenting. Also setting it up etc takes up time that can be better spent working on the business. My thing about third party systems is you do not own the comments as they reside on Google +, or Disqus etc which you mentioned. I would prefer them on my site.

    1. Susan,
      I totally agree with you. No one has convinced me yet as to what if any advantage there is. I certainly don’t want Google to be able to hold my comments hostage. Plus, as you mentioined, it’s a barrier to commenting.

  18. That is fascinating. I haven’t really thought about adding the G+ commenting system. I’m not sure how it would play with DisQus. I guess it requires a bit of research on my part to determine the best course of action. 🙂

  19. Hi Sherryl!

    Thanks for mentioning my post and of course for all the nice things you said about me. 🙂

    After a week with Google+ comments I must say that I’m really glad I decided to give them a try. There was an added benefit that I wasn’t thinking about at the time when I made the switch and I mentioned it in a comment I left when I was on Ana Hoffman’s blog (she’s running Google + comments now too). Here’s the comment:

    I just found another brilliant use of Google+ comments. It was super simple for me to just hover over the profiles of everyone who shared and commented on this post on Google + and just add them to circles.

    I felt like a butterfly floating over the page and stopping for a little nectar on my way down. It was effortless.

    If I tried to do that with everyone who left comments in WordPress it would take ages and in fact I don’t think I’ve ever attempted that – not even on my own blog.

    Speaking of adding people to circles, I’m not sure you saw my video about the two extensions you can use to uncircle people who haven’t circled you back as well as those who haven’t been active.

    Google Plus Tip: How To CLEAN UP Your Circles on Google+
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqnmndz_ATU

    One more thing, I’d like to encourage people to donate to our friend +Alex Moss for making such a wonderful Google + comments plugin! We’ve paid more for plugins that do much less.

    Thanks again Sherryl, have a great weekend!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to weigh in on this Ileane and thanks so much for the link to your YouTube video on uncircling people in our Google+ circles. (I just cleaned mine
      up.)

      As for the Google+ commenting system, I’m not making the switch (at least for now). I’ll be watching for more updates from those of you who are moving to it though.

      1. Sherryl,
        I know it’s a lot to think about before making the move, I decided not to rack my brain and just take a chance. lol

        btw – if you enjoyed the video, would you mind giving it a thumbs up on YouTube. I’d appreciate it.

        Thank you.

        1. Ileane,
          Are you at all concerned that if you decide to close the Google+ commenting system that you’ll lose the comments that have been made with it? (Or, do you know something that I don’t about it?)

          Also, what plugin are you using by +Alex Moss?

          BTW – Not only did I give your video a thumbs up but I also shared it on Google+. 🙂

          1. Sherryl,

            No, I’m not concerned because the comments will still exist on Google+. That really is one of the nicest things about it. Now I can discover all those shares and comments that people made weeks and months ago on older posts.

            Yes I’m using Alex Moss’s plugin.

            Thanks so much for sharing the video!