“noopener noreferrer nofollow” are link attributes that are added to outgoing links. Find out how to use them properly and their SEO implications.

noopener noreferrer Quick Links

What Is rel=”noferrer”?

The noreferrer attribute prevents the website you are linking to to know where the link is coming from.

For the noreferrer attribute it would look like the link below in the HTML code.

<a href=”https://www.agreatwebsite.com” rel=”noreferrer”>View A Great Website</a>

For example, if I link to www.marysgreatwebsite.com from my website and use the noreferrer tag in the link, they will not see my website as the referrer in their analytics.

noreferrer links will show in the Direct traffic source in Google Analytics but if it is a nofollow link it will show in the Referral area.

analytics traffic sources

When Should noreferrer Be Used?

Honestly, I have only used noreferrer once in an outbound link in all of my web existence and that was because I was using a website as a “bad example” in a web designs trend post and did not want to the website owner to know!

Outside of that I cannot really think of another reason you would want to use it.

noreferrer SEO Impact

There is no direct SEO effects from using noreferrer on your outgoing links.

The disadvantage to using it lies in the fact that the webmaster of the page you are linking to will not know you linked to them – which means there is no way for them to thank you, link back to you or share your article.

What Is rel=”noopener”?

noopener is added to a link to prevent your website from being hijacked by what may be a malicious website you are linking to.

In the html your outgoing link may look something like this:

<a href=”https://www.agreatwebsite.com” rel=”noopener”>View A Great Website</a>

noopener is more for security reasons than anything else and has not SEO impact at all. When you have your outgoing link open in a new tab and the site you are linking to is malicious – it can open the door for your site to be hijacked.

noopener SEO Impact

noopener has absolutely no affect on your SEO and is safe to use on all links to keep yourself protected!

What Is rel=”nofollow”?

nofollow is used to let Google know that you do not want to pass any SEO value or “juice” to the linked page

In the html your outgoing link may look something like this:

<a href=”https://www.agreatwebsite.com” rel=”nofollow”>View A Great Website</a>

nofollow means you do not want the search engines to pass any PageRank from your page to the page you are linking to. It essentially means “please ignore this link for SEO reasons.”

When Should nofollow Be Used?

nofollow should always be used for any outgoing link that you can ultimately receive payment for along with the sponsored attribute noted below.

  • Sponsored posts
  • Affiliate links
  • Paid ads

nofollow SEO Impact

This is one of those super controversial issues that I am going to try and clear up.

First – I am going to be clear in that I personally ONLY use nofollow external links when they have a monetary value for me.

Many have said there is SEO value to making all outbound links nofollow, but John Mueller from Google says that is not true.

Years ago there as a big update that affected a lot of bloggers – and it was related to the bloggers not adding nofollow to sponsored or affiliate links. So in turn they decided to just nofollow all links – and that is the advice many SEO’s give to this day – and bad advice at that.

There used to be a theory – not sure if it was true or not – that by adding nofollow to all outbound links you would be preserving “SEO juice” for your own website. Most professional SEOs will say this is nonsense!

While nofollowing outbound links will not affect your SEO – leaving quality outbound links follow may help your site be seen in a better light – so keep those links dofollow!

What Is rel=”sponsored”?

sponsored is a newer attribute that lets Google know that a link is paid or sponsored. This can be used WITH the nofollow attribute.

In the html your outgoing link may look something like this:

<a href=”https://www.agreatwebsite.com” rel=”sponsored”>View A Great Website</a>

When Should sponsored Be Used?

sponsored should always be used for any outgoing link that you can ultimately receive payment for and is best suited to be used with the nofollow attribute above.

  • Sponsored posts
  • Affiliate links
  • Paid ads

sponsored SEO Impact

sponsored attribute links will be similar to the nofollow link in terms of SEO affects.

What Is rel=”ugc”?

ugc is a newer attribute that lets Google known when a link is from user generated content, like links in comments.

In the html your outgoing link may look something like this:

<a href=”https://www.agreatwebsite.com” rel=”ugc”>View A Great Website</a>

UGC attributes for comment links are added automatically by WordPress in versions later than 5.3.

The noreferrer noopener Drama (OLD INFO – just for historical purposes)

Below is some information about the noreferrer noopener issue that many were faced with that have Amazon affiliate websites. The information is old and not 100% relevant these days – but I decided to keep it on this page as it seems some people do still refer to it – but this was a mess for a while, but no longer seems to be an issue!

So there is a lot of scary thoughts out there about the newly implemented code in WordPress websites that forces your links to have “noopener noreferrer” in them and we wanted to try and clear it up the best we can without being too technical.

UPDATED 8/30/17! A reader just let us know that the noreferrer issue has been fixed! TinyMCE no longer forces noreferrer to be attributed to external links that open in new tabs!

Noopener Noreferrer fixed

UPDATED! So there is finally confirmed word from Amazon!

Amazon Link Confirmation

First, this is a change implemented by Tinymce, the editor used in WordPress – not WordPress itself.


This is where we think most of the concern about this new feature is coming into play!

What a lot of people do not know is that the noreferrer tag has been around for a while. You can see in this forum question from 2014 that people were purposely adding it to their affiliate links. So if it was a problem – people would not be using it for years.

We found this recent comment on a forum when people were asking about the repercussions on affiliate links – cannot confirm validity but wanted to share it.

Link Issue Amazon

There is also another person who noted they spoke to the head of Amazon’s affiliate program as well and they also stated you will still get commissions. You can read the comments and full post here for that information.

Their is also a decent thread going on on an Amazon Associates forum about this very issue where there are comments that it will be a problem with Amazon because of the terms of service about blocking referrers.

So you can see there is a wide array of thoughts on whether or not it is an issue.

We were not able to find anything in the Amazon associates program policies about blocking referrer information in our search though — if it does exist, we were not able to find it.

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