Wow, this is really great. I have been singing the praises of Google+ since it came out. For those of you who are not yet on it, I strongly recommend it. I am losing friends from Facebook either by deactivation or by apathy at a consistent rate since Google released its new social network to the public. Although Google+ is in its infancy (only 4 months old), it already has 50 million+ users. This number pales in comparison to the mighty Facebook, but for four months that ain’t bad.
Why should I be on Google+?
There are a ton of really good cases to get on Google+ but, for me, the following are the most compelling:
- It seems to have the best of Twitter and Facebook but none of the downsides
- No character limit for updates
- Faster, more responsive interface and mobile app
- You don’t have to follow someone back to see their updates and they don’t have to follow you back for you to see theirs*
- Integration with a real photo platform (Picasa) – not a third party, and not a clunky homemade function
- No limits to who you can tag in a post
- Ability to “check in” like other geo-location based services but add multiple pictures AND tag friends AND write multiple paragraphs
* May not see things they don’t want you to
And maybe the most important three:
- None of the nagging privacy issues of either Twitter or Facebook by making privacy easy – imagine that.
- You don’t have to be on this network to participate – you don’t need to be logged in to get things shared with you – ever
- Google+ could actually replace/become/be used as your blog
Getting Google+ into your WordPress site
The last point is what this post is really about. Recently, Facebook released an API to allow developers to build tools that will let you comment on a WordPress site and have the conversation taken over to your Facebook wall while still being able to display and engage in that conversation on your blog. This was pretty big and many have created these tools and even more are using them. We have them here on this site (see below) but we faced some serious challenges getting them to work. After some research, I found that the tools are hit and miss depending on your site. In any case, people want this functionality so it being available is a good thing.
I came across an article shared on Google+ yesterday about being able to take comments from your WordPress site and seamlessly integrate them into Google+. Now that Google has allowed for the same functionality as mentioned above in Facebook, everything gets a lot more interesting.
In my opinion, the conversations tend to be deeper and more focused – more in line with what a blog really does. I also find the community up on Google+ (at least right now) is significantly more web savvy. They tend to engage one another on a topic and stay on it. I’d bet that G+ users tend to have a higher click-through rate on links since they are shared more specifically. I have no data to back this up nor do I believe that there is any readily available right now. It’s just my gut feeling.
So, what does this mean to you?
Traffic to your website if this works the way that Google is hoping. For one, this is a mechanism for you to tie your blog into one of the largest social networks in the world without compromising content from your site. It also means that you have yet another source of comments for your blog (= additional SEO value) and something tells me that Google will weight Google+ comments more than regular comments. I have to think this is true considering how they favor videos, particularly YouTube videos (Google owns YouTube). Since the most recent PANDA update this is even more pronounced. It’s also the first genuine step that Google is taking toward embracing commerce for G+. Now, you can actually get somebody over to your site without having to drop a link into your newsfeed and say “hey, can you go to my blog and read this?”. Instead, you can entice them with a good conversation. That’s big.
Going under the premise that this tool works the way the article says it does, we should have Google+ comments up and running this week. Then you can try them out for yourself on Phacient.com.