If I sell the same things that a manufacturer sells on their site, does my SEO suffer if I use their default product descriptions?
I understand that technical specs are ok.
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Think about it this way, if you buy products from a manufacturer with the purpose of reselling them, you need information or specs that will help you describe those product back to your clients.
If you buy coloured pencils from a wholesaler you will sell them differently to an architect and you will have a different approach to sell them to parents, right? Would you use the same wholesaler product description for both types of customers?
An architect might care about color codes, does a parent really care?
Similarity, google will show the page that is more relevant to their users (lots of architects, lots of parents) and in that sense it will definitely hurt your SEO.
Google knows were is the original content and it has already allocated the relevant authority to the manufacturer not to those copying their content. To me that is hurting your SEO because it will be really hard to outperform others doing the same.
Your overall site authority will also suffer, because you are offering an X number of low quality pages, even if you also sell products from manufacturer B and did the right thing with their products pages.