As a general rule, yes you should set your internal links to open in the same tab. This is not, however, a rule written in stone. There may be times when it makes more sense when internal links open in a new tab
When in WordPress and we add a link to an internal link to a post, the default setting is to open in the same tab. You literally have to take an extra step to force a link to open in a new tab.
I think many of us were trained by other bloggers that affiliate links needed to open in a new tab (which is true), that we just started doing the same thing with our internal links. Sort of like many of us did when it comes to using tags. We thought that was a place to stuff our keywords(it’s not).
There are times when I want to have my links open in a new tab. If I am doing serious research on a topic, I want to be able to jump from tab to tab.
Other times, not so much. I am fine with the back button. I don’t want a bunch of tabs open on my mobile phone, nor is it favorable on this laptop. It tend to drag it down a bit when I have a bunch of tabs open.
I had to get my daughter to show me how to close all those windows and tabs on my mobile and it was not fun! She isn’t the most patient soul when it comes to things like this with me.
The thing is, if the content writer does not set internal links to open in the same tab or window, I can make that choice by right clicking on the link.
The opposite is not true. If you have it set to open in a new tab, you take that choice away from me.
Google opens in the same window and I believe has many people trained to hit the back button.
Will This Affect My Bounce Rate Either Way?
I am no expert on Bounce rates but a bounce rate is:
the percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
In other words, it a person lands on your page and takes no further action and leaves your site, it affects your bounce rate.
With either method of opening in a new tab or same tab, they did not leave your site and it counts as an action.
I don’t get all worked up over bounce rates. It’s not always a bad thing. Post coming on this in the near future.
Summary of Opening Internal Links in New or Same Tab
This is really up to you. It’s not a big deal and doesn’t have any big impact on your site or Seo if you set your internal links to open in a new tab. Basically it’s about your user and audience.
This could be a post by post determination. There may be times when you need to open in a new tab and times when you don’t. Always put yourself in the shoes of your user when determining this. It’s all about your reader experience!
What is your preference? Do you set your internal links to open in a new tab or same tab?
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