Giving it your all on SEO but not sure how it can be affected by noopener noreferrer nofollow HTML attributes? Here’s what you should know!
Whether you’re a technical person or not, some basic knowledge about the tags on your outbound links should help you make better decisions regarding the security of your site and your SEO techniques.
Noopener noreferrer nofollow are all attribute values of the rel or relationship parameter on HTML anchor tags. Each of these has a different purpose and outcome and that is what this post is going to discuss. Read on to know more!
What is Noopener?
rel=noopener is related to the security of your website. This attribute is attached to external links.
Noopener is used when the external link is programmed to open in a new tab with a blank target. For example, <a href=”https://www.samplesite.com” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener “ Link to samplesite.com</a>
The purpose of rel=noopener is to prevent security breaches as the page that the link opens to cannot come to the original page where the link was placed.
Chrome 88 and WordPress add rel=noopener automatically to any external link you have set to open in a new tab. This is just as well as it gives your site maximum security.
Noopener vs Noreferrer
Noopener vs noreferrer is easier to grasp now that you know what is noopener and why it’s used.
rel=noreferrer is an HTML attribute that’s attached to an external link. It looks like <a href=”https://www.samplesite.com” rel=”nonreferrer” >Link to www.samplesite.com</a>
The rel=noreferer attribute is used when you don’t want to reveal that you have linked to another site. For example, suppose I’m a food blogger and my website is www.americantraditionaldishes.com and I link to a recipe in Good Housekeeping but don’t want them to know for whatever reasons that I have linked to them. That’s when I use the rel=noreferrer HTML attribute.
Remember not to add rel=nofererrer to your internal links as that would prevent valid link juice from transferring to your pages that need it. The whole point of increasing the page authority would fail.
While noreferrer is linked to the revelation or not of the traffic source to your website, noopener is about securing your website from malicious spam when a link from it opens to a new page. Otherwise, your ID and financial details can be in jeopardy.
Noopener vs Nofollow vs Noreferrer
To recap, noopener links open on a new page and prevent the user from gaining access to the page where the link was embedded.
Nofollow links are well-known by SEO specialists. These links instruct the browser not to follow them as part of SEO strategy. The main reason is that you may not trust the link.
Other reasons for a nofollow link could be a log-in page or a user profile or a page that doesn’t contain much or very important information. Plus, on user comments in public forums where links can be of low-quality. Why would anyone want it to be crawled and indexed!
However, nofollow links do show the referral website.
The 2020 updates do no treat nofollow links so simply. These are read as hints only and crawlers may or may not follow them at their discretion. What’s more, they get to decide whether to pass link juice through the nofollow links.
Whereas nofollow links show the referral site, noreferrer HTML attributes do not show which site is giving you a backlink.
Impact on SEO
Noopener impact on SEO:
None because it is related to website security and has no relation to backlinks.
Noreferrer impact on SEO:
Indirectly, there is an impact on SEO from rel=noreferrer settings. That’s because of two reasons:
1. When other sites don’t know that you have given it backlinks, they won’t be able to return the favor. That essentially means you miss the chances of getting backlinks from them.
And we all know how quality backlinks are a cornerstone of SEO. These are hugely favored by Google as a mark of authority, expertise, and trustworthiness.
When you don’t reveal yourself, nobody would backlink to your site and you don’t get the link juice to move up your position in the SERP.
2. rel=noreferrer links will not show up on your Google Analytics as referral traffic but will be counted as direct traffic.
You may also like: Link Building Do’s and Don’ts
Nofollow impact on SEO:
There could be an impact on SEO depending on which rel=nofollow links get crawled. SEO will improve if page value is transferred via the crawlers.
WordPress and Noreferrer Noopener
Rel= “noopener noreferrer” is automatically placed in WordPress when you add it to an external link and choose the settings where the link opens in a new tab.
This protects your website from malicious intent plus the linked site will not know that it got a link from your website.
How to Remove rel=”noreferrer noopener” from WordPress
The simplest solution to prevent automatic rel=”noopener noreferrer” by WordPress is by having the link not open on a new page or tab. In other words, don’t use target=”_blank” command.
Opening the external link on the same tab has its cons too. When the reader clicks on the link and is redirected to another site, your site will suffer in terms of less dwell time and increased bounce rate.
But the silver lining is that most of the searches and browsing take place from mobile devices and in the absence of a “new tab” feature and the difficulty of going back to the original site, visitors won’t stray too far from your website.
You don’t need to sweat much over noopener noferrer and nofollow tags on external links.
Just remember that noopener doesn’t open your website to potential threats that can endanger your information. It’s necessary to add it when you are setting the link to be opened in a new tab. Rel=”noopener” doesn’t influence your SEO techniques.
Noreferrer just conceals your website when you link to another site. This does have an indirect impact on SEO as it lessens the chances of getting a backlink from the linked site. If you don’t want WordPress to add it automatically, don’t set the link to open on a new page.
Nofollow links are simply links that are referred to but not followed. They may or may not impact SEO as Google crawlers decide whether or not to pass authority from the links they follow.
What are noopener and noreferrer?
Rel=”noopener” is an HTML attribute attached to external links. This protects your website by setting the external link to be opened in a new tab so that your website information cannot be accessed and misused.
Noreferrer is also an HTML attribute that doesn’t reveal the site linking to another site. These appear as direct traffic instead of referral traffic on Google Analytics.
Do I need both noopener and noreferrer?
Yes and no.
When you’re setting the external link to open on a new page, it’s advised to keep the noopener attribute to protect against spam.
If you don’t want to reveal that you have linked to another site, you can keep the noreferrer option on. But this is going to indirectly impact your SEO as the site you are linking to will have no clue about your identity and won’t be able to give you a backlink.
Does noreferrer have any influence on affiliate links?
No, noreferrer tags do not affect affiliate links because these links have the identity of the affiliate included for easy tracking. Referral traffic is not related to affiliate links and therefore, noreferrer has no impact on these.
Sujan Sarkar is the Co-founder of OnelittleWeb, a leading SEO agency specializing in helping businesses improve their online presence and search engine rankings.