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I want to hide my site as the referrer to another site, ie. i dont want my site showing up under the referrals tab in Google analytics, is there a simple way to do this ? ie. an html element somthing like rel="noref" ?

Obviously if the user had a the Google Analytics block plugin installed it would be fine, but i cant guarantee every one has that installed.

The only other way i could think of doing this is to set up a second random site (something like ramdom727.com/) and link to that with the actual site in the query string, then second random site would have a php script that would take the actual url from the query string and redirect to the actual site.. but this would still list the random site as the referrer and seems a little messy.

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I believe I have a solution that will work. As this is a Google Analytics specific problem you can use UTM tagging to adjust the source so that it will not show up as referral, but as direct traffic instead. Simply append the linking URLs with:

 ?utm_source=direct

Please note that the referral data will be removed from showing in GA, but the data will still be passed to the website. I have tested this and it appears to be a working solution.

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  • Thanks, do you know if the UTM tagging works with any other analytics platforms ? – sam Aug 15 '13 at 15:10
  • I do not know for certain, its a custom query parameter that Google Introduced and so I don't think it's likely to be uniformly recognised by other platforms. I do not know which do and don't support it though. It seems that it is the browser that sets the referral data, making it difficult to achieve what you want on a broader scale; a lot of people seem to use the the pass through page that you mentioned. Another possible solution I have read mentioned passing it through an HTTPS:// page on your site, although I have no way to test this. This may be worth testing as a poss broader solution? – Jaryd Buggins Aug 15 '13 at 15:32
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Having run into this problem before I have found that the easiest and most secure way to handle this is to have your site hosted with HTTPS which these days isn't anywhere near as expensive as it once was. With having your site hosted through HTTPS no referrer header will be passed to the linked site. The difficulty with manually specifying the utm_source parameter is that I have found several ways to bypass this and prevent it from causing issues with GA, mainly from sites doing exactly what you are trying, blocking referrer, but in doing so it threw off my analytics reports. By using HTTPS you are not artificially affecting the linked sites analytical reports as it is known to be from an external link but the link is unknown, instead of artificially saying the link was an internal link which is false.

Additional Info
There is a move to make a standard meta tag that would do exactly this but the support for the meta tag is not yet standard across all browsers. By using <meta name="referrer" content="never">. The meta referrer tag is currently supported on Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Android 5.6 browser, and Chrome for Android, with partial support for...

  • iOS Safari - Supports an older draft version of the standard with never, always, origin, default.
  • Safari - Supports an older draft version of the standard with never, always, origin, default.
  • Microsoft Edge - Supports an older draft version of the standard with never, always, origin, default.

Based on this your best option would appear to be to use the meta if you are concerned about HTTPS to HTTPS referrer's. There is no support for meta referrer in IE but that is due to Microsoft no longer actively developing IE in favour instead developing Edge.

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  • i was under the impression that HTTPS didnt pass referrer info the HTTP sites, but would to other HTTPS sites – sam Aug 3 '16 at 10:09
  • You are right there, please see my addition to my answer for further information but basically there is no guarantee that the referrer will be blocked. The meta referrer tag seems to offer the best support in terms of browser support and the maximum number of blocked referrers. If you need an absolute way then the best you could do would be to block individual pages and only show the referred domain using a link shim script to direct all outbound links through it to ensure the referrer link always shows up as your link shim script. – Chris Rutherfurd Aug 3 '16 at 10:24

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