I was looking at the Google Analytics data1 for our site the other day, and I noticed something odd.
We have access to data on referral traffic. We know that:
Referral traffic is Google's method of reporting visits that came to your site from sources outside of its search engine. When someone clicks on a hyperlink to go to a new page on a different website, Analytics tracks the click as a referral visit to the second site. The originating site is called a “referrer” because it refers traffic from one place to the next. Referral traffic is one of three statistics tracked by Google Analytics. The others are Search traffic -- visits from a search engine -- and Direct traffic to a domain.
The top few referral sites are no surprise:
- The top site is stackoverflow.com.
- Next comes Reddit, with significantly fewer.
- Then is superuser.com
No surprise here: people are most likely to click on an HNQ from SO or SU, and Reddit has many related/linked subreddits.
The fourth referrer, however, is very strange: ratp.fr.
This site gives us nearly as many referrals as superuser.com (as of the time I checked), which is odd considering that:
The RATP Group (French: Groupe RATP), also known as the Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (English: Autonomous Operator of Parisian Transports) is a state-owned public transport operator headquartered in Paris, France.
Why is a French public transportation website responsible for so many referrals?
1 link only available for 25K+ rep users