Any body you talk too with a little SEO knowledge will tell you that duplicated content is detrimental for achieving high rankings. This still remains true but thanks to two informative search engineers it actually isn’t, if done correctly…
At the SMX Sydney conference in Australia at the beginning of April, search engineers Priyank Garg & Greg Grothaus (of Yahoo! & Google, respectively) shared information about duplicate content filtering across domains of which many industry experts are not aware of.
They said that if you have multiple content shared across ccTLD domains then Google and Yahoo algorithms are intelligent enough to pick up that it is from the same company.
Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz created a cool image which will be easier to understand.
So if your company does business in locations throughout the world then it would be a good idea to buy domains targeting specific locations i.e. company.com; company.co.uk; company.de etc. The one downfall I have with this however is that search engines place an enormous amount of value on authoritative domains and domain age so this will negatively impact the domain in the short-run. In saying that though it still will be good practise because 5 years down the line you will regret buying the domains needed to expand your business globally.
As an example webgrowth.biz gets significant traffic from Google South Africa searches (geo-located in Google Webmaster Tools) but if I added my .biz content to webgrowth.co.za via a shared database (currently 301 redirected to webgrowth.biz) my rankings/traffic may decrease because my.biz domain has more authority compared to my .co.za domain.
Again, in the short term it may affect my rankings but long term it will help my business grow globally… It’s an opportunity cost I recommend taking!
As always, any input on this highly debated subject is welcome.