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!