You have products on your website and you've just copied and pasted the product information from the manufacturer of that product. Are you safe? Is that fine to do?
Well, let's think about it...
My basic theory in life is that the cream rises to the top - it's a law of nature. If you're just doing what everyone else is, how can you stand out?
(ok, that's a picture of ice cream (a drumstick of course... "stix") but you get the idea) 🙂
From a search engine perspective, they see the same content on your website that is found on other websites. How should they rank your website? You didn't come up with that content, so should your website be ranked higher than the website that had that content first?
No, of course not.
If you want your website to rank higher than your competitors, you'll put in the extra work to rewrite all product descriptions. You need to stand out. We tell our clients that they need to do this and it helps... quite a bit.
Really, all you need to do is rewrite the content (the product description) in your own words. Just say the same thing differently, in your own, original text/copy. If you add your own review of the product or your own customers' testimonials, even better. This is a great job for an intern with good English and grammar skills. This is what you need to do... bottom line. That original copy will continue to work for you going forward into the future. Do it once and it keeps working for you... that's quite a deal.
Even Amazon has realized this. Years ago, Amazon affiliates could use testimonials on their own websites and for a few years now, Amazon doesn't let you use their testimonials and product reviews to promote products if you are in their affiliate program. They'll kick you out. They're protecting what makes their website original and valuable.
This goes for any copy on your website. Just don't copy it from somewhere else. This includes copying text from PDF files and catalogs, too - Google and search engines know about those and have already scanned them.
Again, the cream rises to the top and you only get out of something what you put into it. These are laws of nature and they apply to your website. If you just slap copied text into a website, don't expect it to do well. If you hire a good copywriter and put research and time into your website's copy, you'll do much better. It's really just that simple.
As I've said, a blog is a great way to add new content to your website easily. It's a tool. Professionals use tools because they make the job easier. You can call it whatever you want but your website should have a blog somewhere. Always add new content. I'm doing it right now on this website - the Webstix.com website.
Here's an article that talks more about duplicate content and how to think about it:
What is Duplicate Content? (searchenginewatch.com)