Has Google Plus Made Blog Commenting Obsolete? [Video]

google plus comment traffic

For years, industrious bloggers have scoured the Internet for active and engaged blog commenting communities as a way to generate more traffic to their own website.

This is exactly what I did when I first started out as a blogger… I regularly visited the blogs of thought-leaders I respected, who also had very engaged audiences, Marcus Sheridan, Mark Schaefer, Ana Hoffman, Danny Brown and many others. For more than two years, I spent almost every morning on these blogs, reading, engaging and commenting.

So much so that I wrote How to Blog Comment Your Way to Consistent Traffic Growth explaining exactly how I did it. Over the course of time, through sharing thoughtful and valuable comments in each of these communities I began to build new relationships and in return accumulate traffic to my own website.

Done right, for the right reasons, blog commenting is a very powerful traffic strategy… because it’s sticky.

Sticky Traffic

Blog comment traffic is sticky when it’s built from value.

No one is following your blog comment link back to your website if you’re not adding value.

This means that blog comment traffic is EARNED TRAFFIC and if these visitors like your site as much as your comments they’re very apt to come back.

This is how I met Craig McBreen, Wade Harman, Jeremy Abel and many others I now consider friends… I met these people inside the comments area of other blogs.

Then Arrives Google Plus

If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time you know I’m completely taken by Google Plus. It’s by far, without a doubt, my number one social network.

I love it…

I created a whole series of posts called #googleplusfriday because of the potential I see in Google Plus for marketers and business owners.

What I love about Google Plus, is what I love about the comment section on great blogs…

…the conversations,

…the thought exchange,

…the value,

…the camaraderie that develops between people as they help each other through different problems.

Google Plus has developed a unique culture of commenting that doesn’t exist on any other social media network.

Now we have Google Plus Embedded Posts…

Google Plus embedded posts add a whole new dimension to blog commenting because the comments are captured inside of Google Plus seamlessly between the embedded post and the original post inside of Google Plus. {See below}

The Argument Against Google Plus

The argument against Google Plus making blog commenting obsolete is two-fold:

An active blog audience builds community.

Advocates for blog comments over comments on Google Plus posts would say that blog comments are a direct indication of community building. More comments show engagement, feedback and growing relationships. All crucial components to a successful online brand.

Counter-argument – Google Plus comments and the subsequent conversations hold just as much audience and branding building value as comments on your blog… except there is more exposure for that conversation on Google Plus.

Blog comments help with SEO.

Blog comments do play a role in search engine optimization. Content inside of comments is indexed by Google and some extent can help with ranking.

Counter-argument – From all accounts blog comments have a very limited impact on SEO. In contrast, comments are actively indexed inside of Google Plus and help post and comment authors gain new connections. 

The Rub

The traditional blog commenting strategy for traffic growth comes with a significant time investment. You have to track down your favorite blogs, figure out whether or not you have any value to add and then actually type out your content.

Which, if your comment actually has value, will contain a few paragraphs of content.

Google Plus removes the time drain of chasing down quality content. You can easily sift through your circles and communities to find great discussions and add your thoughts… yielding all the benefits listed above.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t comment on blogs… absolutely do.

But try to mix in Google Plus as well.

As a combined strategy I think you’ll see some serious results.

Thank you and Good luck.

I am Ryan Hanley.

P.S. If you enjoyed this article and want more, I encourage you to Subscribe to my Newsletter 

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About Ryan Hanley

This blog was created to help brands grow their audience, to grow their business. When I'm not writing, podcasting or creating the videos you'll find on this site, you'll usually find me watching baseball with my son Duke and a cold beer in my hand.

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  • http://www.hikingmike.com HikingMike

    Google Plus seems pretty fantastic, and I’m sure it’s great to have the commenting now too, but the big downside for me is that I would have to use my real name. I came across a blog article on blogger today that I wanted to comment on and ended up not commenting because it used Google+ comments. My main Google acct isn’t Google+ enabled (I use Picasa Web Albums and Google+ photos isn’t quite there yet) so I logged in with my other and tried commenting and sure enough my real name showed without my nickname so I deleted it.

    Guessing from the audience, I imagine everyone here probably thinks I’m crazy, but my reasoning is while yes I have “nothing to hide”, I don’t want a significant portion of my web participation linked with my real name. I would prefer that if someone decides to Google me in the future they don’t get a very limited and skewed impression of me that I don’t have much control over. I also see good reasons to keep my professional life and private life separate. These are the same reasons that I don’t comment on articles that use Facebook for comments. After keeping privacy controls the way I want on there, commenting on a public site with my facebook account would kind of defeat the purpose. I may bite the bullet in the future, but I haven’t yet.

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  • http://basicblogtips.com Ileane

    Hi Ryan,

    Awesome article! I submitted it to Inbound.org and there are a couple of comments over there. If you want to respond here’s the link:

    http://www.inbound.org/articles/view/how-google-plus-has-made-blog-commenting-obsolete-video

    Just sign in with Twitter.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Ileane,

      First, thank you! Second, I’ve been meaning to ask you about Inbound.org. I see you mention it but I’ve never really checked it or known what it’s all about.

      Thanks,

      Ryan

      • http://basicblogtips.com Ileane

        Ryan, it’s just a super simple content sharing site from the folks at Moz. Mostly SEO and social related content from what I can tell so far. You can also start discussions without submitting a blog post. Mark Traphagen hangs out there sometimes too, so you might like it.

  • http://www.anotherseoninja.com Jessica Hartman

    Hi Ryan,

    This is my first time visiting your blog and I wanted to say this is great stuff! I 100% agree with you on counter argument regarding “limited SEO benefits on commenting for Google+. I say this simply because by the embedded comments on Google+ and the increase in interaction on this subject line in my opinion is a hint that the content being shared is worthy of taking the time out to re-read and possibly share. It is my belief that we would be able to even go as far as finding a direct correlation between blog commenting on G+ and number of times the post is shared in return generating additional back links through G+.

    With the new back link updates on Google Webmaster it appears as though these shares are indeed having a very positive impact on SEO – just not for the commenting participants – but instead for the person who wrote the content :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jessica,

      I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment on your first trip!

      I completely agree with you in the fact that links built inside G+ are having some impact on search. Why would Google have built G+ if not to use the information their collecting there in some capacity?

      Thanks,

      Ryan H.

  • http://tiroberts.com/blog-commenting-guide/ Ti Roberts

    Indeed a fantastic post/video, Ryan.

    I agree with your points about Google+ plus being a great place to engage in authentic conversations and add value to your audience. However, I don’t think that Google+’s new embedded post feature will completely wipe out blog commenting. In fact, I’ve recently published an in-depth tutorial about how to effectively comment for increased traffic and building relationships.

    Like you, blog commenting has played a major part in helping me build my brand, exposure and traffic. I’ve built several strong relationships through blog commenting with top bloggers like Ana Hoffman, Lisa Irby and Ileane Smith. Plus, blog commenting and the relationships I’ve built through them was instrumental in helping me reach 19,000+ blog visitors in my first 3 months.

    I agree that Google plus is a revolutionary social network. I actually prefer it over Facebook as it’s not as tainted and still has an intimate community feel to it, which I love.

    I believe that I will try your suggestions in regards to the embedded Google+ posts. Possibly run a case study of sorts to see the impact it has on my traffic and overall brand promotion as opposed to blog comments.

    I appreciate you taking the time to share your insights and perspective on this. It’s been a while since I’ve dropped by your blog and I’m glad to see that you’re still creating such value content for your readers.

    I’ll be sure to share this with my social circle and with the BizSugar community as well. Look forward to connecting more with you soon. :)

    Ti

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Ti,

      So glad to have you back here. I agree that G+ embedded posts won’t completely wipe out blog commenting but I do think that Google Plus users are seeing a reduction in blog comments in exchange for Google+ comments.

      But as you said, it will take time to see.

      Hanley

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  • Grant Kegley

    Great Post! As I was reading it, I was wondering if I could write my blog post in Google+, and then embed it in my website (rather than the other way around – the traditional way).

    I did some testing with the embed that you have in this article. Since I primarily use Chrome, I opened up this article in Firefox. The embedded post did not show in Firefox (both signed in and signed out). I’m not sure if this capability of embedding a Google+ post is only possible on Chrome.

    I went back to Chrome and signed out of Google. The embedded post still shows in your article, but when I try to comment on it, I get brought to the post within Google+, with the option to sign up for Google+ (that’s probably not a bad thing).

    Through this little experiment, I came to the conclusion that I probably shouldn’t treat embedded Google+ posts that the way that I suggested.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Grant,

      I’m going to have to check out the Firefox test. I haven’t heard that it wasn’t working but that is interesting you found that out.

      Thanks for sharing dude,

      Hanley

  • Jeevan Jacob John

    I do love the fact that G+ included comments in their embedded posts (make them different from Twitter and FB).

    And like you mentioned, it gives blog readers a chance to interact with us on Google Plus (if they don’t already).

    Plus, the comments we leave using Google plus are visible to the entire world, not just the people who scroll down to comment (given that we post it to Google Plus, which I think most people do).

    I wouldn’t give up blog commenting for Google Plus though (don’t want to be too dependent on Google :D). I will try to maintain both. On blogs that have both systems, I try to comment on both (well, I mainly use the G+ comments for writing a short review and sharing the article).

    Anyways, thank you for the update, Ryan :)

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Jeevan,

      I also couldn’t give up blog commenting for Google Plus but I have seen a reduction in comments because of Google Plus.

      I guess we’ll see with time,

      Hanley

  • Paul Dzielinski

    Ryan, I agree with you on the benefits of commenting via Google+, but one reason I would give for not giving up on blog commenting is the difference between owning and sharecropping. With a blog, the blog owner usually is hosting it himself and controls it. Google+ is owned by Google, and it is not inconceivable that they could someday decide to shut it down. They’ve done it before with other products.

  • http://www.keithrlaskey.com Keith Laskey

    This is really an interesting discussion. I just spent 10 minutes commenting on G+ advocating the need to comment on blog posts. Then I realized I didn’t even read the post, just the discussion on G+. I guess the bottom line is both formats are valuable in their own way.

    G+ is an unbelievable way to join a conversation and are hundred times more interesting than those conversations on Facebook or even Twitter. But there is just something about commenting on a blog post that feels closer and more personal. P

    PLUS!!! I discovered Cheryl Ragsdale’s site and am now totally intrigued. Especially because she has Mario as her favicon!

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Keith,

      You’re right, both are very important and it really is a post by post basis determining where you should add value with a comment.

      Appreciate you stopping by dude,

      Hanley

  • Dawn Augustine

    Ryan, I too have been a fan of google+ since it debuted. I really appreciate all your comments and guidance on using this social network,

  • http://www.ferreemoney.com/ Neil Ferree

    Ryan,
    Like others, I’ve been experimenting with embedding G+ Posts (and G+ Local Reviews) on a few of my WP sites to see if the thread of comments and user engagement is impacted. It’s too soon to tell if this new feature/function is the next model of choice or if conventional commenting will remain in place. Adding G+ comments was helpful and moving forward embedding G+ posts to a WP site shows promise.
    Neil

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Neil,

      Have you seen significant engagement increase by adding G+ comments to your blog?

      Thanks,

      Hanley

  • http://whodoyourespect.com/ Cheryl Ragsdale

    Hi Ryan,
    I just found this post through Google+ and I’m leaving a comment on your blog (the old fashioned way). After taking a year off from blogging and my daily blog commenting practice, I’ve taken a good look at how I’ll use Facebook, Twitter and Google plus going forward.

    At first, I just ignored google+

    But then, I clicked on one of my circles (everything mma) and found an active community engaged in conversations that I could easily slip into. I read posts that met my interests. I didn’t have to go searching around. Most importantly, I didn’t feel the need to earn my stripes by visiting a blog several times before anyone noticed me.

    One of my articles that I posted on the MMA page received 5 google shares during the time that I spent commenting. That was a glorious result!

    To each his own: there’s merit in whatever you do. Just have fun doing it.

    • http://www.ryanhanley.com Ryan Hanley

      Cheryl,

      I really like your attitude… and I completely agree. To a certain extent all this discussions are semantics. If you’re adding value to a community your audience and relationships will grow.

      …and I do appreciate traditional comments as well!!!

      Hanley