NoOpener NoReferrer In Our Links!

NoOpener NoReferrer: These two words are nothing to panic about. However, they are being inserted automatically since WordPress 4.7.4. If you haven’t noticed yet – take a look at this link:

About:  It looks kinda normal, right? But guess what is lurking beneath?


Does anyone else just want to giggle, “How meta!”??


Why are these inserted automatically?

WordPress is more or less saving us from ourselves. There is a risk inherent in using the target=”_blank” attribute which a lot of us do. If you use “_blank” the link will open in a new tab. And the user can come back to your site. Everyone has a different feeling about whether or not this is a good thing. That isn’t the point today.

The problem with using the “_blank” attribute is that a bad person can easily insert a tiny bit of code and steal your reputation and use it for nefarious purposes. You can read more about the technicalities here if you’re so inclined.

Is this bad for SEO?

In short, no.

I’ve read quite a bit this past week on whether or not Google, in particular, cares about noreferrer attributes. So far, the consensus seems to be ‘no’.

[info_box type=”note_box”]Please note: NoFollow and NoReferrer are different games altogether! We are only talking about NoReferrer and NoOpener – NOT NoFollow.[/info_box]

“NoReferrer” tells Google not to send referrer details, this is the same sort of privacy as SSL provides. Because there are no referrer details, you will not know where the person came from: their browser, device, location, etc. This will have an impact on your analytics. From what I can tell, it will have no impact on SEO.

[clickToTweet tweet=”NoReferrer impacts what the browser does, not what Google does.” quote=”NoReferrer impacts what the browser does, not what Google does.”]

But – there’s always a “but”!

What we tell browsers to do, does impact what Google does. For example, if we tell the browser to put a title in an H1 tag – this tells Google that the text within the tag is important. So this question is still a good one: Does NoReferrer impact SEO?

NoReferrer only stops the originating page’s http information from being passed. It doesn’t stop Google or Spiders so I think that they are safe for SEO purposes.

“NoOpener” is a little less complicated. It just tells the next window/tab not to open back up the original page. That tricky two-step is how the nefarious do their thing.

How to get rid of “NoOpener NoReferrer” attributes

This new safety feature is courtesy of the TinyMCE update that rolled out with WordPress 4.7.4. It is possible to deactivate it through code in your functions file, but I’m so against it that I won’t even tell you how. Removing that safety feature is akin to removing seatbelts from your car. It’s just a bad idea.

But honestly, it is nothing to worry about. Questions?? I’m here to help!


~ Cathy


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    1. I -so- appreciate it when you ask questions, then I know that I’m writing something that is actually helpful! 🙂

        1. You’re very welcome! Get the newsletter for all my tips each week – I only post the need-to-know bits for busy bloggers! 🙂 (Largely due to Diane’s advice! Love that lady!)

  1. Do you know if the noreferrer aspect will interfere with affiliate link tracking? I’ve asked this of many people, and so far no one can give me a clear answer.


    1. Hi Joy,
      I haven’t confirmed this but my logic tells me – it depends on the link. If the link you use is then that ID is not taken off wherever the click’er goes. 🙂 However, this is a moot point because the NoOpener, NoReferrer only appears when you link to your own site. You can link out, to aff links or any other link without these added safety precautions.

      EDIT: I was wrong!! NoOpener & NoReferrer show up on all links with the rel=”_blank” attribute. But the link doesn’t change, so any tracking mechanism will still work.

      Hope that helps!

    1. Thank you for letting us know about the option!

      But I would not recommend removing them at all. They are there for security reasons.

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