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I'm optimizing 25 sites for the same brick and mortar chain... all new sites, and a great opportunity for cross-linking. Sites are to be built around the same generic page topic structure... with a visible link page, that's to be quite prominent to the site visitor, linking to all the other locations.
Except for name and location, though, there isn't that much difference between any of the outlets. I think we can create copy that's different on most of the sites, but I'm concerned about the link page. If stripped of content, the links would be identical.
First, I should clarify that the sites won't be mirror sites... each outlet will have different descriptive content, BUT the site structures and a lot of the keyword targets and link text will be pretty much the same, and a lot of the page titles will be very close... especially for those in the same city.
Also, the list of stores is the same for all the sites. I think I follow you about putting a lot of links to pages on the home site, and using absolute urls... and the unique sentences won't be difficult.
I was thinking of putting the list in different sort order on different sites, but the client would like it to be in alphabetical order, which puts that big block essentially the same on all sites.
Looking at your list regarding dupe checking, I'm not sure why I shouldn't be concerned about this block of links, and the page title and structural similarities, or am I misreading you?
Yes, I was thinking the same thing, though I also tend to be very cautious about dupe content. What I don't want to do is to be driving myself crazy in varying the sites when I don't have to.
I think Brett's suggestion of using the absolute url is a brilliant idea that will help a lot to make the pages look different to the engines.
But I'm still concerned about page titles and link text that will be substantially the same on all the sites (at least those in the same location)... as well as things like page file names, which probably should be the same.