Updated: May 23
Have you inspected a hypertext link to come across a rel="noreferrer" and wondering how it impacts your SEO in regards to domain ranking and backlink profile?
Table of Contents:
What are rel attributes for backlinks?
The rel attribute tells the search engine what the relationship is between the current page and the page that it is linking to. All outgoing links and internal links have a rel attribute. Depending on what the rel is, it lets the search engine know if the relationship positive, negative, or neutral?
There are three rel attributes for backlinks:
The noopener is for the security of the referring site and has no effect on SEO. The nofollow tells the crawler to disregard the relationship between the page and the backlink. The nofollow is a rel attribute that website owners focusing on SEO do not want. Today we will be focusing on only the noreferrer tag.
What is a Noreferrer tag?
If the inspected link has the noreferrer attribute, the referring domain with the outgoing link will be hidden from search engines. This means that the webpage crawler will NOT know where the link came from.
It basically means what it says, there is no referrer. Consequently, the referee will also not know where the link came from.
This is NOT the same as a nofollow link either because those tell the search engine to disregard the link. For rel noreferrer, the crawler will know that there is a link but just not who it is from.
What is a referrer backlink?
All backlinks automatically have the referrer attribute as long as it is a dofollow link. There is only a distinction for when it is not referring. The dofollow link lets the search engines know where the link is being referred from. This means that the domain that is sending you the backlink will show up on your backlink profile. You will be able to view it on ahref or moz.
These links are what all SEO professionals aim for when building a link profile. It gives the maximum amount of link juice.
How does noreferrer affect your domain and backlink?
As per all of the articles on the web, the noreferrer has zero impact on your SEO. It is not a negative for SEO but at the same time it is not exactly a positive. It would be more accurate to classify the noreferrer meaning as slightly more positive than neutral but not negative.
What happens with this rel attribute is that it still contributes to your domain traffic because when people click on your link from the referring page, it will count as DIRECT traffic. This will cause a hiccup for those who are analyzing where the traffic is coming from because this particular link does not list a referring domain, it will think that it is an organic direct click. This will hyper inflate the direct link statistics.
What this rel attribute will not do is add to your backlink profile. If you check the referring domains from ahref or moz, it will not show up on there since it is marked as noreferrer, these crawlers will not know who the referring domain is.
Unfortunately, since they are unable to identify where it came from, the link juice from the referring domain will not pass on. This puts this rel attribute below the dofollow links since those pass on the full link juice.
The only reason this makes it slightly positive is that it will add to the direct traffic if the link gets clicked. This of course makes it very dependent on the page for generating traffic. This means that if you get a noreferrer tag from a high ranking domain but on a page with no traffic, there will be no passing on link juice nor traffic to your domain.
When should you use noreferrer?
You should only use this rel attribute if you do not want the domain you are referring to, to know who you are. They will not know where theWhat is rel Noopener Noreferrer?
source of the traffic is coming from. If you are looking for backlinking opportunities, this would close off that avenue.
A lot of times, websites that see a backlink coming from an unknown domain will usually be more likely to give a link back. Perhaps you can use this rel attribute if you are linking to a competitor and don't want them to know.
What is rel Noopener Noreferrer?
Both of these tags are typically used simultaneously together. When used in conjunction with each other, it basically protects the referring domain from any security breaches that may come from domain it is referring to.
To summarize, the rel="noreferrer" attribute is not a negative but is also not a positive for SEO, which is why it is often categorized as no impact on SEO. You will not receive link juice from these backlinks since the search engine crawlers do not know which domain it is coming from. These can still help your domain IF that particular page generates a lot of traffic with clicks back to your website. These do not show up on your referring domain statistics either.
This article is brought to you by Dr David Chen, a practicing long island city dentist who is trying to learn and master dental SEO. There was no real answer to this question so we're giving you a direct answer after much research.