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Two Websites - two countries ?? SEO problems

I am concerned about whether Google will blackhat me for the following:
1.  I would like to have two Websites, oen for the USA and one for the UK
2.  the Websites will be exact replicas of each other in terms of layout and type of content, same links, same everything except for the data relating to each of the markets
3.   there will be some links between the two sites because User A in the USAS might be interested in the UK Website and vice versa.
Given the strong strong similarity between the websites, including the same logo header will Google see this as a blackhat operation.  
Needless to say it is not intended as such and if necessary I will have to combine the two sites into one.
Multiple views on this would be much appreciated.
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1 Solution
1 - It will not be seen as a blackhat operation: you are cheating in no way
2 - However, since the pages are duplicate for the most part, they will be "sharing the grade", eg, instead of having one single page in position 3 for a given search, you might have 2 pages in position 20 or 30... where nobody will see them.

I would probably consider having a single site, with some country detection based on IP. All pages would be the same except those few which would be country specific (with the option to change this specificity)
digiselAuthor Commented:
hi fibo
thanks.  that is very interesting.  i did not realise that "sharing the grade"  - when it applies - could have such a dramatic negative impact.

may i correct a wrong impression.  in the uk site there will be 350 pages unique to the uk.
in the us site there will be nearly 300 pages unique to the US.
while the data in those pages is different, the format and presentation is the same.
would that amount to sharing.

between the two sites, there might be about 12 pages that would be shared.  
am i correct in thinking that if that were the case then only those pages would "share the grade" for those particular optimisations.
or would that spread throughout the site ?
thanks for your help.   it is really useful.
The spiders are blind, they cannot see much as far as format and presentation, so that is a non-issue.  They see content, and that is what gets indexed, if there is a small amount of duplication it will not have a large impact on the overall sites.  You can improve it a little by not putting the duplicate pages in the sitemap for one of the sites, and if Google picks up the pages, you can ask for them to be de-indexed in Googles webmaster tools.

digiselAuthor Commented:
thank you very much for your authoritative and concise responses.  I am most grateful for your help and support.

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