I run a holiday cottage (vacation rental) website and recently some customers (owners of holiday properties) have contacted me to say that there has been a significant drop in the number of clicks from my site to theirs when they check this in Google Analytics under Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals. Something like "it used to be 291 clicks per month, now it's 3".

However, when I check in my Google Analytics where I set up Events to track outbound links I can see that the click-throughs are either steady or going up.

So it seems that Analytics is not picking up my site as a referring site any longer - does anyone have any idea why this might be? It seems to have started around the end of 2017 / beginning of 2018.

I was wondering if it was to do with the fact that some of may customers have changed to https might have something to do with it but updating the link from http to https hasn't changed it.

The site is doing very well on Google in general - 95% percent of visits are generated by organic searches and and traffic continues to grow so there are no issues with Google penalising the site.

  • 1
    how are your customers tracking referral from your site?
    – AnkDasCo
    Aug 20, 2018 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


Browsers should send referrer information to HTTPS sites from an HTTP site. The loss of referrer info should only go the other way. If their sites were HTTP and yours were HTTPS, I would expect the data loss. RFC 2616 section 5.1.3 says:

Clients SHOULD NOT include a Referer header field in a (non-secure) HTTP request if the referring page was transferred with a secure protocol.

You can have your site always send referrer info to other sites by using the meta tag:

<meta name="referrer" content="always">

That tag works in Safari and Chrome, so the vast majority of users will see it. Some lesser used browsers like Firefox and IE don't support it yet.

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