Do Links That Open In New Windows Pass Equal Google PageRank

Apr 22, 2010 • 8:10 am | comments (8) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Link Building Tips & SEO

A WebmasterWorld thread has one member asking if links that deploy a target="_blank or similar code, which essentially opens a link in a new window - do those links pass PageRank and if so, is it diminished due to opening in a new window?

I'll be honest, I never thought about such a question my whole life. I have never seen it in my ~7 years of covering SEO forums. But I found the question somewhat interesting, even though my first instinct is to say this question is somewhat ridiculous. Why in the world would it pass less PageRank than any other link? But maybe it does? Who knows. I think I will ask Google about this.

In any event, please take my poll below and if I get an official answer, I will follow up on this. I know how I am voting, but you go ahead and vote as well:

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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04/22/2010 01:54 pm

I've never thought about this either, the creative director at my company always insists that links to external domains should be in new windows to prevent the end user navigating away from where we really want them to be... and I assume we arn't the only people who think like that...

Dave Eaves

04/22/2010 02:18 pm

I've thought about it before, a couple of years ago now. I am pretty confident that pop up links will pass an equal amount of pagerank, like you said, why wouldn't they.

Justin Chen

04/22/2010 04:09 pm

I vote for equal amount. Opening in a new window is more a user experience decision than a vote for or against a particular site. I can see google ignoring the target attribute.

Marcelo Martins

04/22/2010 05:02 pm

It all depends what kind of "REL" attribute microformat you assign to the link, which can be: home, tag, directory, follow, nofollow, license, enclosure, payment, and me. Search Engine Journal has an article on how to use various REL attributes, and this is the link: Each one of these attributes has an intrinsic value. These attributes are used on pagerank sculpting and Matt Cutts has an article on his page: Let me know you have any more questions about his topic. Hopefully I was able to provide you with some insightful information and some references.

Michael Martinez

04/22/2010 05:22 pm

Only an SEO would think about something like this. I doubt the Googlers ever gave it another thought, as a link is a link is a link (except for the links they don't want to trust). :)

Ben Pfeiffer

04/22/2010 06:02 pm

Just imagine if Google actually did devalue or enhance a links with a target _blank. To use that as a signal of quality seems rather innocuous. What if the link is bolded? Or opens in the same page? I imagine it would get rather messy calculating the PR adjustments for each link and probably not worth it.


04/23/2010 08:45 am

Since a while, I do use a target="_top" or no target for external links to my websites. I believe (without proof) that opening a link in another window does clearly means that it lead to a "stranger" website, and tells that we do not want to loose the visitor. Google does not ignore this. As a matter of fact, they forbid opening adsenses in another window: it's something they deal with, for sure. So, I voted for "less juice than no target". They already take into account 301,nofollow,js links, anchor text, bold text... taking target into account is just another (obvious) parameter among 10's other, no big deal for the big G.


04/23/2010 05:29 pm

Great now you just gave Google another idea to add to its algorithm. :)

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