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There’s a bit of confusion about <nofollow> and <noopener noreferrer> and how they affect affiliate commissions. In this post I give a bit of background on myself and my experience with SEO, coding and affiliates. After, I dive into making sure you understand why “nofollow” and “noopener noreferrer” are both completely different and uber important to know why.
I’m not an SEO or Coding Expert!
I think it would be fair to say very few bloggers get into blogging because they love to keep up on SEO and coding.
Now, I’m going to preface this with… I am absolutely NOT an SEO expert and I am absolutely NOT a coding expert.
I started learning SEO and HTML about 14 years ago by coding Craigslist ads to get leads. At first, it was a single hyperlink… then it ultimately turned into building cells and making color ads on Craigslist using only HTML… it was free and it worked. It was amazing!!!
Fast forward to today and technology has come leaps and bounds. It’s so amazing. Quite literally anyone can start a blog with a few clicks of a button and completely customize it through dragging and dropping.
Today, I hire professionals to do what we need when it comes to SEO and Coding. That said, I stay up to date on everything I possibly can on the 2 fronts because I always want to stay ahead of the curve.
It’s pretty amazing to think that we’ve been doing affiliate marketing for about 11 years now. It’s mind blowing to me. I couldn’t have dreamed blogging would have lead us to where we are today. We’ve literally sold $100s of thousands of products with affiliate marketing through Happy Mothering.
(Real quick… affiliate marketing is basically getting paid a commission by companies when you sell their products or services through your blog.)
So with affiliate marketing… things have changed drastically over the past decade. There are now tons of laws we must adhere to, tons of rules in various affiliate programs’ TOS’. Affiliate tracking has changed immensely. Search engines have also changed immensely. Now we have to worry about “bots/ spiders” crawling and indexing our sites into the search engines if we want to be seen.
I like to help fellow bloggers.
So I’m part of a few Facebook Groups and I’m relatively active in them. This one blogger asked for help because her pageviews dipped from like 14K a day to like 1K a day. So I scanned over her site, gave her a couple of pointers and actionable tips she could use and went on with my day.
The next thing I know, the post is blowing up in this group… so I hop back on and answer a bunch of questions… then this comment was made to me:
Brian Johnson A lot of my Amazon links have rel=”noopener noreferrer”. Do I need to add nofollow too? Thanks for some great info by the way!
So I chuckled a little, answered his question and a couple of other peoples’ questions then went on with my day.
Several hours later when I checked Facebook again, there were tons and tons of comments about “noopener noreferrer” code and how it affects affiliates. Then it dawned on me that most bloggers probably don’t stay on top of SEO, coding and affiliates like I do.
So, instead of writing out a huge response on Facebook, I’m putting it here on our blog.
What is “nofollow”?
Long and short… “nofollow” is a command given to a hyperlink that tells search engine bots to not follow that link or give it any “link juice.” So the bots don’t.
Google wants you to add the “nofollow” attribute to all affiliate links, paid links and sponsored links. Since that’s what Google wants, do it.
Pretty easy to understand, right?
What is “noopener noreferrer”?
These are two separate attributes, one of which is to help us and the other of which can cost us a lot of headache.
“noopener” is an HTML command that makes the browser open the new link without granting the browser context access (i.e., the firewall).
This is a good code to have, especially if you’re directing the link to open in a new tab. The reason being… there’s an exploit that hackers can use to do bad things, so using “noopener” helps prevent that from happening.
This is the code everyone is freaking out about and rightfully so. The “noreferrer” atrribute prevents the browser from sending any information at all to another page about who the referring website is.
It’s that plain and that simple.
“Will I lose affiliate commissions?”
You might be losing affiliate commissions if you’re using “noreferrer ” because your affiliate information probably isn’t getting passed on.
Amazon Associates Program.
We are Amazon affiliates through the Amazon Associates Program. We have been for many years and we stay on top of their always-changing Terms of Service.
Amazon’s TOS specifically states they need to be able to see the information from the referring website. If you use “noreferrer” in front of your Amazon affiliate link, then you’re breaking Amazon’s TOS and they can ban your Amazon account.
Amazon has a savage breakup letter (and yes this is copied from a real letter… and yes, it really does say “Best Regards” backed by “Thank you” at the end).
As stated in our previous communication, upon a review of your Associates account we have determined that you are not in compliance with the Operating Agreement that governs your participation in the Asssociates Program. We have closed your Associates account and you will not receive further payment of advertising fees.
You are not in compliance with Participation requirement Number 30 because the sources of your traffic are obscureed in such a way that we cannot reasonably determine on what site or sites your Special Links are displayed.
You can find the complete terms of the Operating Agreement, including the Participatinon Requirements and Linking Requirements, via this link: https://affiliate-program-amazon.com/gp/associates/agrreement.
We ask that you immediately remove all Amazon Content from your site(s). Any other accounts you have or may open in the future may be closed and you will not receive any advertising fees. We reserve all other rights and claims we may have.
If you use “noreferrer” with your Amazon affiliate links, Amazon will still know that it’s your link. What Amazon won’t know is where your link is coming from. And just because a person is using “noreferrer” and they’re getting their commissions from Amazon right now doesn’t mean Amazon won’t drop their ban hammer down at any given moment.
Here’s the deal. Regardless of how it was inserted there, the “noreferrer” code is completely against Amazon’s Terms of Service.
All Other Affiliate Programs.
Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company with vast resources to make sure their affiliates are being tracked properly… and they still have issues with tracking. How good do you think the tracking is on that small $5M company you’re representing… or that $100K per year company? Do you think any off them have even heard the term ” noreferrer” before?
At the end of the day, you need to make sure you get “noreferrer” removed from all of your affiliate links to help protect your commissions.
What App or Plugin can Remove “noreferrer”?
We have been using The Blog Fixer for a long time now. We have utilized almost every one of their “fix” services and we pay monthly for their Live Fix plugin, so the fixes all work automatically on every post.
One of their fixes is to remove “noreferrer” from all of your previous blog posts and remove them from your future blog posts too (must have the Live Fix plugin to apply changes to future blog posts). One thing that made a huge difference when we had a massive drop off a while ago was The Blog Fixer’s Amazon Compliance Fix.
That’s a Wrap!!!
So at the end of the day, you learned a little bit about me and where I’m coming from. And I gave you my thoughts on the “noreferrer” coding.
I say “get rid of the “noreferrer” attribute as fast as humanly possible from all of your links.” Then don’t look back… but at the end of the day that’s all on you!!!