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Does this clarify enough?
What I really would to find out is if I am getting penalized then what is the best way to fix it, AND if I am get penalized, then what is the exact reason?
Google, and presumably the other SEs, don't like duplicate content, especially when it's the exact same content, just on different URLs.
Why? Google limits each site to 2 listings in the SERPs. So if no duplication penalty existed, everyone who had the #1 & #2 slots could just clone their site 4 times and monopolize the entire 1st page of results, with all the links showing the exact same content. This is worthless to users, so would quickly devalue the results from Google.
A friend of mine who has operated a similar operation to yours, has not had his sites caught/penalized, but lately the domains had been jumping in and out of the index...so he got the message, i guess, and did the 301.
How does Google view that in terms of duplicate content?
-Have a shared IP address
-Currently we have varied on page content
-Moved the page structures around [ images and text ]
-Don't interlink these english language sites
We are being careful to make sure that only results relevant to e.g. the NZ market appear high up on .co.nz
Of concern is that the sites:
-have the same domain branding name "xyxxyz"
-use the same url structures
-might be reported as SPAM by competitors when sometimes all 5 show up on the same page in the serps - but then that usually only occurs if there's no competition.
What do you think?
Everyone has the right to put up - for example - a copy of the constitution on their website - without fear of getting banned or penalized. You just won't show up for searches for it, but your site won't be delisted or anything either.
If both sites are original content and belong to you, they should list one of them and dupe the other.
Google THEMSELVES has duplicate content. Much of the content for their various google.tld sites is duplicate.
Google is very logical, they would not knowingly ban two sites because they had the same content.
If so, does that mean that some of the regional sites will not show on localised Google searches and how does Google choose that one?
I guess to put this another way - how can a webmaster put up content on multiple domains and not be have a filter dampner, and are the precautions that we've taken sufficient?
Tough question - and totally different than what the original poster was asking
If you have genuinely unique content on each tld - then you will probably be ok. The amount that has to vary is hard to say, and it isn't a set amount - like you said - if there is no competition - what can you expect.
I don't think anyone can answer your question exactly, but from a theoretical point of view keep in mind that google likes to look at think from a users point view.
With regards to others reporting you:
If you want to stay around long term you have to ask yourself - "If a Google employee saw this - what would they think?"
If the diversification you offer is of value to the user (which it sounds like it might be - or could be made so with some work) - then you will have no problem.
However, much of the time I see things just done with the attempt to get more money/traffic - and adding nothing for the user. It is hard to say what exactly will pass muster, but gooogle's job is not to pass value judgements on sites, but to let its users do it for them.
So you need three things:
1) To change or add something
2) Of value or use
3) To that set of users
As far as the technical aspect goes - with many SEs - google included - sites on that countries IP - will do better in that countries TLD google's search. That is a real PITA for obvious reasons, but it is a reality. Maybe others can comment more on that issue, but that really takes this off topic - which was duplicate content (however I can see how people would confuse them).
The ".co.uk" "regional variation" has Google.co.uk SERPS, but doesnt rank in Google.com. But i want the .com version to rank in Google.com obviously. If I 301 it to .co.uk, then Google sees it as .co.uk and I wont achieve any decent Google.com rankings.
But the content (product data) is the same for both US and UK markets. So how would one go about ranking the .com on Google.com and the .co.uk on Google.co.uk with similar data?
Surely Google woudn't penalise the same domain name but with different TLD if it contained the same content, as Google simply ensures the TLD determines the regional Google search required? Also, Google must realise this would be unfair on the honest layman website who simply provides good content to different markets. Penalising someone for delivering honest content on both widget.com and widget.co.uk, simply to attract consumers from different countries, is surely not happening?