A big SEO question – Are you making this SEO mistake?

So I have a big SEO question for you and it is this. When you add internal links on your blog do you set them to direct to the article on your site or to open in a new window or tab?

And what about your external links? are you making the SEO mistake of bouncing members out of your site?

I have never found a definitive answer on these linking questions.

All I can give you is my thoughts on what I do and why I do it.

What I can definitely tell you though is that if you add external links to another site and when they are clicked the visitor leaves your blog for the blog linked then you are making an SEO mistake.

And the reason I say that is that there is an SEO ranking factor based on the time someone spends on your page or site.

If someone spends a long time on your site then it is clearly a good article and Google takes notice, if your visitor then clicks through to another of your pages from an internal link then even better.

But if they click an external link and zoom off to another site so closing yours then your not going to have a good “time on page” stat.

So when you externally link out to an authority site or resource you should always make external links open in a new page or tab.

This keeps them on your page and just gives them a second page to review when they are ready.

If you are not doing this then you are making a big SEO mistake.

So how do you fix this SEO mistake if you are making it?

If you have an established blog and just never really thought about the implications of just diverting away then you could have quite a headache to fix all the external links on every blog you have written because you would need to add the code below to every link that you want to have open in a new window.

<a href=”https://www.yoursite.com/” target=”_blank”>YourSite.com</a>

Now to manually put this right is quite a job but there is a very quick fix.

The downside of this fix is that you will need another plugin called Open external links in a new window (no affiliation)

By default, this plugins makes all external links (i.e. links that point outside the current hostname) open in a new window/tab.
You can change this behavior by providing regular expressions that either forces or ignores whether the link should open in a new window.This is how I open external links in all my blog posts because yes this was a mistake that I made and Infobunny is just too established to go through and edit every external link.

But what about internal linking? Should these links open in a new window?

Well, I don’t have a definitive answer for you on this. I can only tell you what I do and why.

All my internal links open in the same window. Yes, the clicking an internal link diverts away to a new page but they remain on your site so you haven’t really lost anything.

What you have done is to simply offer the user a shortcut to the possible information that they want.

A searcher doesn’t always find the information that they need straight away so offering related content as a shortcut is helping Google so that’s a good thing.

There are a few more things to consider

Is it a browsers default setting to open links in a new window? No, it is not.

So we are also working with what a user expects when they click a link.

They expect to stay on the page, so a sudden change to a new site location could be seen negatively by the visitor.

But then it makes no sense for external links to open in a new window?

Yes you can argue that but I would argue that a user would expect for a new window to open when an external link is clicked and to underline that point I would often write something that tells the visitor that they are about to click an external link like “our friends over at xyz.com have written a great article that explains more” and then I would link the article name.

Another consideration

Mobile is big now. Many sites get the majority of their traffic via mobile.

Google now even has the mobile first index that I have written about on Infobunny.

So mobile is big.

Now put your yourself in the mobile user’s shoes for a second.

Mobile sites can be tricky at the best of times to navigate that’s why we have responsive themes and mobile friendly tests for example.

Imagine if every link you clicked on a mobile site opened a new browser.

Mobile SEO is all about ease of use and opening a new page everytime you click is not the shortcut the user is looking for.

Are you making this SEO mistake?

Thanks for pinning my image 😉

The shortcut is the user staying within the same browser, giving them as seemless experience as possible so they come back.

A big SEO question – Are you making this SEO mistake – Takeaways

So are you making the SEO mistake of opening all your links in the same browser?

If you are then you are going to be damaging your “time on page” and we know that Google loves to see people stick when they visit a page and not bounce out.

Consider what it is that you like when you visit a site. Do you like bouncing out? do you like new browsers suddenly opening?

And definitely consider the mobile user’s experience.

Regards Dexter.

PS – If you enjoyed this post, please comment, like and share below, Thanks!


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