Just now I received notice that a client wants to have every, and I mean every, link on their website to open in a new window.
This brilliant idea was seeded to their client by another developer who have positioned themselves as experts in creating websites that maximize SEO (search engine optimization). They claim that by opening links in new windows it will ensure that the user will stay on the clients website for the maximum duration.
My experience says these people are dumb as dirt and should pitch their snake oil schemes elsewhere, like deep below the Pacific Ocean — whereas I have come to understand deep-sea life forms are anxious to get discovered and will do anything to get noticed especially if it means fifteen seconds on Discovery HD.
In all the user testing I have done in the eleven years I’ve been in this business, opening links in new windows (the equivalent of pop-ups) do exactly jack squat to keep a user at a website any longer than without them. They do however leave the user confused (often times they don’t see that a new window has opened and will try to click the back button to get back to the original website but can’t because there is no history associated with the new window) and increasingly irritated.
And I also know this because I used to do it for Longboard links long, long ago (it was a hard time for me back then, I was hungry, desperate and I needed the money, or something like that but hey I never had sexual relations with that woman, I mean, I never advised a client to do it).
Boo, I say to these developers of SEO, If this is the kind of “expertise” you’re shlepping then a pox on you and your house.