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Why do most referrers only show the domain name?

Starting in late 2020, Google Chrome changed the default referrer-policy to "strict-origin-when-cross-origin". This means that when you click a link on one site that points to a different site, Chrome only passes the domain name in the referrer, removing the path and query portions. And the "strict" part means referrers are only passed between HTTPS sites. For non-HTTPS sites, no referrer is sent at all.

The change was actually made in Chromium, which most other major browsers are based on (Safari and Firefox are the only exceptions). This means that most of these browsers will be the same way soon if not already.

Safari was already doing this when Chrome did, but Chrome doing it had the biggest impact since it's the biggest browser in the world.

Firefox followed Chrome in March 2021 with the release of Firefox 87, and just like that, referrers became a lot less useful.

Backink search to the rescue!

In April 2021 we released a new feature that automatically sets up a Google search query to help you find pages on external sites that link back to you.
Learn more about this tool here.