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I have a request to copy their existing site into 5, each for their branch in different cities because they're under different owner. The content is the same except the Address, Price, About Us, and Contact.

My only concern with this is the impact on SEO due to Google detecting it as spam site. Is it safe to do that?

Edit: Found an article by Google about content duplication. But the suggested way is to use canonical tag to point to the main site, which reduces the visibility of duplicated site. The branch manager won't be happy about that.

  • The branch manager won't be happy about that. Tough noogies! He can be pi$$ie about the reality of life or succeed like the rest of us. Duplicate content is very very bad. The canonical tag will be required. It is bad to have several domain (sites) with duplicate content or similar content. There is no point to it. You can only rank one site so the others will be money and effort wasted. More sites does not equal more traffic or more sales or all of us would be doing it. It is not that simple. Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 9 '16 at 3:41
  • @closetnoc Thanks for the information. If we change the description for each product, would it be considered as duplicated too? – hrsetyono Dec 9 '16 at 3:44
  • There are many ways that Google and others determine duplicate content. Changing a small bit of content will not stop Google from figuring out that the pages are largely the same. It is not that simple. Each site has to have value each on it's own or there is no point. We get these questions here a lot. Believe me, the algos for duplicate content are fairly simple but thorough. I would not recommend it personally unless each site is unique enough to have value on it's own. Cheers!! – closetnoc Dec 9 '16 at 3:48
  • Here are two answers that might help. The second one explains more. webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/83613/… and webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/88955/… – closetnoc Dec 9 '16 at 3:55
  • @hrsetyono Branch offices often run into this issue, for example car dealerships that use templates of the manufacturer's site. Try to add additional pages to differentiate the branch sites, such as product specials & pictures, staff bio's, blog pages, customer testimonials, etc... Localized information really helps too. For pages that are exact copies of the main site, add a canonical links to those. You can also add tabs, pull-down menus, and location searches on the main site to help visitors find them, though you shouldn't have much to worry about if you add some of the above. – dan Dec 9 '16 at 5:49
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You will not going to face any SEO problem if your address, price, about us and contact us pages are different, because there are lot's of websites who have similar design and have similar content. For example I provide same service as you, so Google does not consider them as duplicate content. And you said "under different owner", which is enough reason to don't consider your site as duplicate.

There are lot's of aggregated website who fetch many website details/content into their website, it means the content is purely copied, but because they provide such a value to users, they did not get any duplicate penalty.

Google penalize duplicate content, because those newly created pages initially get some value, which you can transfer to any webpage by using links. Another reason is, they don't want to store that kind of data on their server, because it is not good for any user, but in your case it is useful if you're targeting different cities.

I have seen many of eCommerce website provide same kind of content on two different URL's but the price value and it's currency is different for example in USD, or EURO, so they did not face any penalty.

Most of eCommerce website have same product for example any smart phone XYZ, and when you see that webpage, then you will see the product features, prices are all same but still they did not face any duplicate penalty, because some of content are slightly different for example title and reviews. So if you also change your title slightly differently and if possible, then also change some body text, then you will not going to face any problem.

Don't use canonical link tag if you want to index you'r all 5 websites. If any webpage contain any canonical link tag, and it does not same as your browser address URL, then Google will consider them as duplicate content, and it will index only the canonical link tag which you're pointing on your webpage.

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