Ok so we have a debate going on in the office, so before I let up where I stand on this I want to pose this question to the community, so here it is ...
Say you had 5 sites all aimed at different countries but covering the same topic all with the same domain name except the tld, for arguments sake we will call them redapples.com (USA) redapples.co.uk (UK) redapples.ie (Ireland) redapples.com.au (Australia) redapples.ca (Canada)
Now, on each website we have SITEWIDE links to each of the other sites, so on redapples.com we have 4 sitewide links in the main nav to the other tlds. Each website has unique content but is completely based on the same topic even the sites have almost the same navigation structure and the sites themselves are all pretty much the same template/design.
The links to the other sites are all do follow and the anchor text is Red Apples UK, Red Apples USA etc etc
So what are your opinions on this, do you think it would harm SEO rankings? Do you think Google would look unfavourably at this? Would a rel="nofollow" be required instead?
I am really interested to see what the community has to say about this.