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You're more likely to see which search terms people are arriving at your site with.
are the various sections in various subdomains or is the content all on one hostname?
If a website is accessed from a HTTP Secure (HTTPS) connection and a link points to anywhere except another secure location, then the referer field is not sent.
10. ^ "Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1: Encoding Sensitive Information in URI's (RFC 2616 § 15.1.3)". IETF. June 1999. Retrieved 2013-03-20. "Clients SHOULD NOT include a Referer[sic] header field in a (non-secure) HTTP request if the referring page was transferred with a secure protocol"
I think phranque's post already put that angle to bed.
To solve this, Google changed from the standard way that referrers are supposed to be passed to its own unique system, which works like this:
Secure /// does NOT pass referrer to /// Unsecure unless…
Secure >>> passes referrer if ADVERTISER to >>> Unsecure
''There are at least two reasons search engines may penalise https URLs: (a) they may consider it more likely to be a private URL and/or a misconfiguration by a hapless webmaster just asking to be taken down a notch; (b) if it's a migration from http to https, http forwarding is necessary and there might be a duplicate link penalty.''
Whether (a), (b), neither, or both apply to Google or any other search engine is hard to say, because secrecy. It's a risk of unknown unknowns.
HTTPS-only sites are fine, there's absolutely no need to shy away from that if you implement it properly. There's certainly no penalty involved with running your site on HTTPS-only when done right. A few of the things that come to mind are (definitely incomplete, just from the top of my head):- John Mueller
- don't forget the http->https redirect & other canonicalization things
- look into HSTS
- list the https site separately in webmaster tools (it's a different site)
- make sure the infrastructure can handle the higher load (SSL, caching, etc)
- check out the differences wrt. caching