I have a website which is available in 6 countries. All versions operate under the proper country tld with different content and language (except the english version that uses .com). For example the French version uses a .fr domain and all of the content is written in French and so on...(All websites have different content, not the same content in different languages.)

So the situation is that I really messed up the .com site with some redirects, url structure mods and content removal/updates. While it didn't get any penalties, the search traffic dropped with 95% and it doesn't seem like something that will go back (I was waiting 2 months).

Honestly I don't really care about fixing it because it was the less popular version and didn't generate any revenue. So now, I am thinking about that shutting down the site would make my life easier. I am a little bit afraid that the .com landed in the sandbox or just violated a Google guidline after the design and content update and this can affect the other versions on the other domains.

My question is that is there any recommended way to shut down a website without hurting the other domains? Like just simply redirecting all sub pages to the mainpage, deleting everything and just keep the 500 error pages or using 410 headers...

Or I shouldn't have to be afraid at all because there is no chance that Google would punish the other domains just because they are using the same domain and managed under the same GWT/Analytics account?

It's important that the other websites didn't get the redirects and modifications that caused the problem with the .com, so they don't have any serp related performance issues.

I would really appreciate if somebody who is more experienced could give me some advices about the proper workaround to manage this situation.

1 Answer 1


Well, it's tough to answer a question like this with the little information given. Rebranding, relaunching, redirecting, whatever the project may be need to be planned and executed with utmost care - if you want guidance and a guarantee that the shutdown is done correctly and best practices and maximum impact is achieved in terms of SEM, you will need to turn to the local expert of your choice.

I would redirect pages to their central corresponding localised version. Getting rid of the .com and continuing with localised version is a first, however, if you don't live in the US and your revenue is generated in all other countries with localised version - good for you. You also indicated that the .com version didn't yield much revenue - did that relate to traffic or the fact that it didn't attract the right traffic? You said it lost 95% traffic, but without total numbers that can mean anything - so if there wasn't much traffic and there were little outreach and content marketing - then you perhaps redirect all pages to the main version's homepage.

I know this is very little information - but as I said - we plan these projects carefully, and I can't see myself answering this on this platform and be sure that I gave the right advice.

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