1. Contributing User
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    External links in new window - target=_blank or javascript

    Google huffs and puffs about links opening in new windows - taking control away from the user, bad, bad, bad - even though many users actually appreciate it:

    Long, long time ago I remember reading that you can hide the fact that if the link is going to open in a new window by using some javascript like
    <a href="http://forums.seochat.com" onclick="window.open('http://forums.seochat.com','new','');return false">
    So first off - does anyone know if that was ever true/is true?

    Now most people these days mark their external links with an icon so users are forewarned. That means Google shouldn't grumble but can its bot really be expected to pick up on this as there are many methods to achieve it - an inline image, a background image or a :after image.

    I do mine like this:

    <a class="new-window" target="_blank" href="http://forums.seochat.com">
    and in the css

    .new-window:after { content: url(/images/new-window-icon.png); }
    What are the views on which method is better? Is this just a case of you can't please Google all of the time? Strangely little discussion on this around the web....
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  3. Contributing User
    SEO Chat Discoverer (100 - 499 posts)

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    I haven't seen anything about it being a ranking factor, not that it couldn't be. It seems like Google can crawl links using onclick="". I'm guessing they would figure out that it was opening in a new window.

    We Tested How Googlebot Crawls Javascript And Here's What We Learned

    I think the CSS way you presented is a good method to let users know.
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  5. My views are my own ;)
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

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    I would appreciate some links to discussions / articles where Google would express their attitude towards target=_blank
    I never heard they ever expressed anything against those...

    Either way, I'd imagine the bot would be able to read both target="_blank" and the javascript if they wanted it to be a ranking factor...
    Last edited by Ann Smarty; Apr 18th, 2016 at 05:02 PM.
    Everything will be ok in the end

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  7. Dinosaur
    SEO Chat Genius (4000 - 4499 posts)

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    Must admit I was a little surprised by this saying google dont like target="_blank" its quite a common and valid thing to do to help users in some cases and not something I have seen anything about.
    I know there has been some talk about this approach being deprecated in the future and I think I am right in saying its gone already with XHTML 1.0 and 1.1 but I could be wrong there. I have seen javascript being used as a a way to open a new tab so there could be some truth in it.

    I do know google hate background popups, you know the type, you click onto a page and 1 or more new windows open and when you close them new ones open. These ya fair game and could be what you have read about but used in normal use I personally dont see the problem.

    Comments on this post

    • Ann Smarty agrees : Exactly... First time I've ever heard about Google disliking target=_blank :/
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  9. Contributing User
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    Oh kack! I don't remember where I read it and now I can't find it but it was definitely an official Google guideline.

    It was all about not being a good 'user experience' type stuff (like this: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/200...n-new-windows/ ) because if a user wanted to open a new window they could do it but I always felt not all users know how and in certain circumstances it is helpful. For example I have 'how to' guides with links to tutorials about each step so I see new windows as helpful here.

    Perhaps Google has dropped it as an issue and that's why I can't find it .....
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    Taking a user off a page in an external window is good for user experience when used correctly. Google usually frowns on things such as what Cheddars said about "background popups" which in my opinion does not add any good user experiences. Great job on using the CSS for new window indication, I've done it in the past as well.

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