How to open all WordPress outgoing links in a new tab

How to open all WordPress outgoing links in a new tab

If you have spent some time writing on the internet, you already know how important links are. And while people focus on incoming links, which are the backbone of high ranking in Google, outgoing links are just as important.

However, WordPress will open the outgoing links by default on the same page as your website. This will effectively force visitors out of your website and forward them to the link that they clicked on. And as webmasters, we want the visitors to stay on our websites.

When you’re adding a new link, in the WordPress editor you do have the option to force this link to open in a new browser tab. However, this option is located in an additional menu, for both text and image links. And there is no option to change the default WordPress behavior towards outgoing links.

But if something is missing from the WordPress core and there is a need for that, there is usually a plugin to fix it. Today, we will take a look at the two most popular plugins that allow you to open all WordPress outgoing links in a new tab.

The importance of outgoing links for your SEO

Before we go to the plugins, a few words on the outgoing links and why you need them on your website.

A recent study discovered that sites which have a few outgoing links will rank higher than identical websites with no outgoing links. This has long ago been a speculation among the SEO folks, but now it has been empirically proven and documented.

However, one thing to keep in mind. Not every outgoing link is valued equally by Google. They weigh outgoing links the same way they weigh incoming links – based on their relevancy and their destination.

If your sports goods site has links from a popular beauty salon, they will not be as relevant as a link from espn.com, for example. It’s the same way for outgoing links – if you put a link to, let’s say moz.com, and your website is about artisanal sausages, it will not be rated very high from the search engines.

How to open outgoing links in WordPress in a new tab

WP External Links

WP External Links

WP External Links

will allow you to quickly force all outgoing links to open in a new tab. However, it’s not a simple on/off plugin, as it offers a lot of customization options.

When installed, it will create a brand new menu in the WordPress admin, right below the “Setting” menu, called “External Links”. From there, you will be able to choose exactly what will happen when a visitor clicks on an external link.

You can specify if the links should be “follow” or “nofollow”, what will be their “title” and “text” attributes, should a special CSS class be appended to them, or if they should have a special icon, setting them apart from internal links.

WP External Links settings

Aside from the external links, you can also change the way internal links work. You can also specify exceptions – links from specific domains that are will not be affected by the settings for both the external and the internal links. After that, you can specify special rules for the exceptions themselves.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways for you to customize link behavior.

The plugin is also regularly updated, so you don’t need to worry that you have old and potentially vulnerable code on your website.

Open external links in a new window

open external links in a new window

This is one of the oldest plugins which allow you to force all external links to open in a new browser tab. As such, it was created with the goal of doing only one thing, and that’s exactly what it does.

From the moment you activate the Open external links in a new window plugin, all external links will start opening in a new tab. There are almost no settings, it’s more like an on/off switch.

open external links in a new window settings

Still, it offers some small degree of customization. You can specify if you want specific links to be opened in a new window, if they match, or if they should be ignored. And that’s it.

Despite the fact that this plugin works, it has not been updated in 2 years. While it is still compatible with the newest versions of WordPress and it boasts an install base of more than 30 000 active users, if you want something more recent, you should look elsewhere.

Also, the Open external links in a new window plugin has a known problem with other plugins that modify the ‘OnClick’ link attribute.

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