Confluent Forms LLC, located in Easthampton MA, is a boutique branding, graphic design, web design, web development, Blogger development, and PHP/MySQL application development firm providing services to customers from the Fortune 100 to local non-profit organizations and academic institutions. Serving Western Massachusetts and beyond.

Evergreen content & Network Effect of Google+ Comments

by on September 23, 2013
Alternate title: "we've switched to the Google+ Commenting System for the Confluent Forms site on Blogger, and here's why."

Our recent post on a website's content life cycle got us thinking about our posts that pop up now and again, and especially the Zombie post example by +Stephan Hovnanian. We noticed how we needed to find a way to make more of our posts "come alive again" beyond us continually sharing them. Then it struck us: this is exactly what the G+ commenting system can do for us.

Let us explain.

In a normal commenting system the comments are threaded and reside in the page/website. People come to the page, leave a comment, and maybe come back if there was a response to their comment. Maybe they come back even more, but that's doubtful.

Here's where the G+ comments differ.

Yes, Google+ Comments require the commenter have a Google+ account and yes, that can potentially drive away comments. That's a net-loss that you can't ignore (right now at least). But the big thing is this: when someone leaves a new comment the default behavior is a share to Google+. Their comment on your article is a share on their stream that they commented on your blog post, the message they posted, and a link to your post. It's a SHARE. To their whole network stream. That could be 50 people or 5 million people.

Let that sink in a moment.

Now lets talk about +1s. For each new top level comment left through the commenting system, not only are you getting a share to the commenter's network, but that share counts as a +1, which they can also +1, which you can also +1 (which counts towards your total), in addition to them being able to also +1 your post (if you're counting that's +4). No joke. Then, any time someone +1s that poster's share of a link/comment to your blog post, each of those +1s count towards your article's +1 count.

Each new comment, instead of just being yet another flat comment not contributing to the success of your blog post, is now a quick electric bolt, potentially jump-starting your blog post's social media dissemination yet again.

(Learn more about how +1s affect search)

So then you need to decide: potential huge Google+ network bonus, or comments open and accessible to all for flat comments? Google+ Commenting, and using Google+ and Blogger together, has the ability to turn each blog post that you write into a Zombie post, the post that keeps resurfacing each and every time that someone leaves a Google+ comment on it.

Zombie statistics for a blog post: blue is total page views, green is
search traffic, and orange is Google+ shares.
Notice the correlation between G+ shares and peaks?


Caveats

Yes, there are definitely some trade-offs to using Google+ Comments as your commenting platform. The two big ones: no anonymous comments and commenting requires a Google+ account. Before making this decision we took a look at our numbers:

  • Exactly 2% of all of the comments ever made on our blog (and weren't spam) were anonymous.
  • We've received approximately 100x more comments stemming from our posts on Google+ then we had in our traditional blog comments
  • 66% of all traffic to our site over the last 3 months originated from a (not provided) Google search or a Google+ referral.
With these numbers in mind the potential value-add of the Google+ Commenting System easily outweighed the potential negatives.

Keep in mind also that we're talking about Google+ Commenting for Blogger, not for any other platform such as the various hacks that brought Google+ Commenting to Wordpress. This new commenting system for Blogger was developed as a 1st party integration; the hack that brought Google+ Comments to Wordpress does not include the notifications and management that are part of the Blogger package. Think of this as another advantage for Blogger over other blog platforms.

Continue reading our series: Blogger & Google+