There is a school of thought that asserts that Google Plus shares may be more valuable to the SEO value of your site than other social shares (because of the structure of G+ or affiliation with Google).
Google Plus has been around for awhile, but the capability to embed posts from the network has only been around since September. One of the major advantages for publishers to embed Google Plus posts is that any updates to content are appended to the embedded object, and readers can interact with the G+ post directly from your website. Embedding rich content within a post may be able to increase G+ activity around your content.
What I want to do in this post is to discuss the options that you have to embed content from G+ onto your site. Google makes embedding rather simple compared to YouTube, but the downside to that is that your customization options are likewise sparse.
Embedding a Google Plus post is pretty straightforward. There is a subdued (upside-down) circumflex in the upper right hand corner that allows you a complement of options, one being “embed post.”
When you click “embed post,” a prompt with an embed code pops up:
There are two things of note here:
#1 – If you have a Google Plus sharing button on your site, the first code is likely redundent (the one that says “Place this tag in your head or just before your close body tag.”)
#2 – Everything is prescribed in the second piece of code, which may entice you to want to tinker with the site address. Before you do, you should know that vanity URL addresses (+jimdougherty for example) don’t work with embeds. Same goes for URLS with /u in them or mobile generated URLs. Only the canonical G+ address works.
Here is an example of a Google Plus embedded photo post:
Here is an example of an embedded video post:
Embedded media files like this one from SoundCloud display similarly to videos:
You can also share Google Plus communities, if for instance you have a community presence there:
There is one more specific functions relative to Google Play for music (though I am hard-pressed to think of a branding purpose for these). For Google Play songs, users can play a preview:
So, that’s the nuts and bolts of embedding G+ posts. Very good ease of use without a lot of customization options. There are some things that you can do to change the behavior of your embeds, though…..
Page load time is an important aspect of user experience (and purportedly of SERP position as well). One of the ways that webmasters deal with scripts and images is to load the asynchronously, meaning that the page loads in parallel to the image / script or before the image presents or a script is executed.
You may find that asynchronous loading Google Plus embeds is helpful for your site, but it takes a little bit of doing.
Rather than the wrote script that the embed code asks you to place in your header, you would place this script instead for parallel asynchronous loading:
In order to asynchronously load the embed after the page has loaded, you would use this code in the header:
There are other ways that you can manipulate a G+ embed, but these are probably the most useful for most bloggers.
Please feel welcome to leave a comment to share your experiences with G+ embeds, or your challenges.
Here is the complete guide on G+ embeds from Google for further reading.