Shelly

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In the past, determining whether to merge 2 websites during an overhaul has been fairly straightforward to research and determine. I'm really torn on this one and need opinions from others in the field.
  • Marinas are located on 2 different lakes in close proximity to one another (15-20 min drive) that share the same name other than one word (Upper and Lower)
    • Lower [name] Lake
    • Upper [name] Lake
  • Similarly, the marina names follow suit
    • [name] Lake Marina
    • Upper [name] Marina
  • 2 different logos (though very similar with the only difference being the acronym associated)
  • Officially 2 different businesses (I need to separate my invoices for the same owner)
  • Both currently rank for the same high-value rental keywords, helping to dominate the search results since they currently have 2 full results for the 2 different websites
  • Fairly low competition in the area makes the 2 sites stand out more
  • Almost all duplicate content except both rent boats for camping at different campgrounds on or near the respective lake.
  • Looking at SEMrush, there is a point last July when Upper had a bump in organic traffic (probably with the July Cor Update) and Lower saw a respective drop. This tells me that one is impacting the other, but both still rank high, with Lower maintaining top positions over Upper.
  • Lower has been around for a while. Upper was acquired and rebranded/named about 2 years ago.
  • Both have a decent number of links yet fairly low authority. Lower Lake has higher metrics for both.
I am leaning one way from my research but I'm still hesitant and looking for expert opinions.
 

Professor M

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if it is working and they are 2 different businesses, I would leave it as it is ("don't break what is working").
Probably, I would change some of the duplicate content.

As they belong to the same owner, it may be worth creating a simple 3rd website for the group, mirroring the corporate structure. Similar to malls and mall owners (each mall has a website and the mall owner has its own website with all the properties)

hope it helps
 

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