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The company i work for wishes to build a stand alone web site for one of our product ranges.
Our widget site that sells over 1600 different types of widget now has a substantially large blue widget section.
we are looking into creating a specific blue widget shop.
Im worried that google may think we are trying to cram the SERP's pages with our sites becuase the blue widgets will be on both sites and therefore could potentially get positions 1 & 2.
Ive heard rumours that google will find similarities on your site such as zip (postal) codes etc to match up sites under the same company.
Look at all the affiliate crap out there that is OK with Google. Some similarity doesn't seem to disturb Google. But if they think its just the same info re-presented, they may ignore it.
Don't over crosslink each other. In fact just one way link will be much safer. Anyway they are affiliated site, right?
As long as the design is quite different and has different aspects of contents(i.e. No same template), you should be fine.
It is safer to change 50-90% design than 10-50% content. I don't think you are going to just copy and paste the content anyway. right..?