A company whose website is 4 years old is called [city-product.tld] - so it's a very specific domain. They need to open another office in another part of the country, but they will have to have a new website because the new office has a new company name - (mainly because the original company name has a city in it which would confuse visitors to the new website).
The new website will be [newcityproduct.tld]
The owner wants to clone the existing website (150+ pages), and then change the logo, company name, some images etc. Obviously, the main problem is a lot of duplicate content and I'm aware that we would need to create a lot of unique content for the new domain. So I'm coming from 2 angles:
Firstly, I want to do this without damaging the rankings of the original website.
Secondly, I want to give the second website the best chance of success in Google.
We need to remember that the original website has a lot of quality content on it which would be very beneficial to the new website's visitors. It wouldn't make sense to not add the great content to the new website, because it will do such a good job of educating visitors (if there are any!) and converting them into leads. We don't have the resources to rewrite all that content. But we do want to add as much new unique content as possible that's relevant to the new location etc.
The original domain has a higher domain authority - the new website is a new domain. How do we protect the original website's rankings? Would you do things like add canonical tags to pages on the new domain pointing back to the duplicate pages on the original domain? I think adding a standard link linking back to the original page would confuse users. Or should we just let Google figure it out?
Would love to hear your thoughts! .
Mods note: Changed .com to .tld because .com actually exists. Removed tool mention, per forum Charter.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:37 pm (utc) on Sep 18, 2013]
Which site Google shows should depend on the location of the searcher. If the searcher is located in or near city 1, then Google's results should show pages from the website for city 1. Similarly, For searchers located in or near city 2, Google should show pages from the site for city 2.
If some of the pages have the same content except for the logo and the name of the city, that's your prerogative, and Google has no right to tell you otherwise.