What is Noreferrer?
The noreferrer is an HTML attribute that is added to link tag <a> to prevent passing the referrer information to the linked website.
You must have seen an option for “Direct” and “Referrer” in Google Analytics.
When you use the noreferrer attribute to your outgoing link tags, you prevent the targeted websites from seeing your website; as a result, it will be shown as “Direct” traffic in GA.
On the other hand, all other websites that haven’t added the noreferrer attribute will show up in the “Referrer” section.
A noreferrer link looks like this:
<a href="https://www.otherwebsite.com/" target="_blank" rel=" noreferrer"></ a>
Suppose you have a website, and you link to another website with a rel=" noreferrer" tag - the other website owner will not see your website as a “Referrer”; instead, the traffic from your website will be shown up in the “Direct” traffic of Google Analytics.
When to use the rel=" noreferrer" tag?
Usually, website owners use rel=" noreferrer" when they do not want other websites to see their websites.
This is mainly done for security reasons or when you want to keep your web pages private.
However, keep in mind using noreferrer will still pass on the link juice, so if you are not interested in transferring your pages’ authority to others, a nofollow tag would be the best option to use along with noreferrer.
It is also recommended to avoid using a noreferrer tag on a website's internal links; your website analytics will not track the users the way it should.
Impact of noreferrer on your website SEO
The noreferrer tag has no direct impact on your website SEO.
You can use it without worrying about any negative impact on your website. However, it may indirectly impact your website.
When you add a noreferrer tag on your website, you prevent your website from showing up in the “Referrer” traffic of the targeted website.
The other website owner won’t be able to see who is linking to their site. On the other hand, without noreferrer tags, your website will show up in the “Referrer” traffic section of the linked website.
So, it is likely to get noticed by the website owners, who may link back to you or start following your posts. Simply speaking, to get the attention of website owners, you can stay away from using noreferrer tags.
Other than that, adding or removing a noreferrer tag will not have a direct or significant impact on your website SEO.
WordPress and Noreferrer attribute
When you add an external link on a WordPress site, WordPress automatically adds a noreferrer tag to that link.
If you are using much older versions of WordPress, you need to put that tag manually on external links.
If you want WordPress to avoid adding a noreferrer attribute to the external links, you can turn off the “Open in new tab”. This method is simple and will open the link to the other website in the same tab.
However, there are chances that visitors will leave your website once they are on another website page. As a result, it will decrease your “Average time on page”.
Noreferrer vs noopener vs nofollow attributes
Noreferrer, noopener, and nofollow attributes are not related to one another; instead, each attribute serves its own purpose.
The noreferrer attribute prevents the website from showing up as a referrer to the analytics of the linked website. It will not show where this link belongs to.
The noopener attribute is mainly concerned with the security of a website. It prevents hackers from doing any malicious activity on your website by accessing it.
Nofollow is another attribute that is confused with the previous two. In the past, nofollow was used to tell the search engine not to pass the link juice to the linked pages. However, Google now takes the nofollow attribute only as a hint and says it may or may not pass the link juice to the linked website.
The difference between noreferrer and nofollow is that in noreferrer, the linked website will not be able to see it as a referrer, while link juice will be passed.
On the other hand, nofollow is intended not to pass the link juice, but its referrer information will be available to the linked websites.
Both noreferrer and noopener have no impact on SEO, whereas the nofollow attribute may impact SEO depending on the quality, relevance, and other characteristics of a link or a website.