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Our company maintains several blogs, each with similar content, but localized into 3 languages. Some content exists in all 3, but there are variances. I'll call those languages and their sites A, B, and C.

While the blogs have similar content, they all have unique names and are treated as unique brands. (In contrast to, say, one blog brand that is translated 3 ways).

Previously we had the A blog as a subdomain of the primary site. The other 2 blogs had unique domains, like this:

  • A.site.com
  • B.com
  • C.com.ccLTD (this blog has a country code as well)

Recently we opted for parity in an attempt to help close our funnel and give a similar UX for all. We used 301 redirects for implementation, and did a search/replace for internal links to reflect the new structure. Everything else remained identical. So we now have:

  • A.site.com
  • B.site.com
  • C.site.com (without the ccLTD)

Expectedly, traffic dropped after the migration. It dropped a bit more for C (presumably because we abandoned the ccLTD).

However, around the same time, traffic for A also increased.

Questions:

  1. Is there a correlation between the losses for B and C and the gain for A?
  2. Apart from normal updates to B and C (site structure, meta content, tags, etc.), what kinds of things could be affecting this?
  3. The sites historically did not use hreflangs, even though a lot of the content was translated directly. Is it possible that this is the culprit? I'm nervous and suspect of this theory, on account of A's gains.
  4. Is it fair to assume that C's more significant loss is due to removing the ccLTD? The decision not to do this was based on formalizing a strategy to focus on language rather than location.
  5. Can anyone confirm whether Google is smart enough to know that translated copy is unique and not duplicate?

Thank you!

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