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I ran across an article which says this about using manufacturer descriptions for products:

If you want to be filtered by the search engines, just add a description from the manufacturer. This action can guarantee your site will be banned from the search engines.

Is there any proof or citations for this?

  • It's always fun to demand proof whenever you are talking to SEO salesmen. He's right on unique content, would like third party input on the rest of the proposal/supposition. – Fiasco Labs Jan 25 '16 at 23:09
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No, you won't be banned. It's mostly talk unless you're scraping exact match data or copying things like data_elements/html_entities/css/classing/theme along with it. But even if there is no "ban", Google may "filter" [truncate] you into the duplicate scope and therefore out of first results, forcing user to go to last page of search results to trigger a search with the duplicates included.

So what this means is that you may still hold slot #3 in a serp, but only when you are "un-hidden" by the user going to the last page, then clicking "repeat the search with the omitted results included". It looks like this near the bottom of last page:

enter image description here

This can happen even if your contents [words] are very different. There are a variety of dynamic mystery facets that must add up to trigger this, and even more mysteriously, there are sites that aren't flagged when they actually copy more of the MFG descriptions.

Why? Bias. Alllll the big ecoms copypaste MFG data and they do it constantly for almost every item. It's annoying that they "get away with it", but they would cry and whine if they were subject to the same duplicate filters. Here is an example.

So what's the best bet? Don't copy or even be similar. But that often doesn't matter due to the finite amount of words that can describe something, or other similarities out of your reach like theme/class/id construct. Always be ready and/or expect to be flagged as a duplicate and truncated at some point for some page. You can thank Wayfair/Walmart/Amazon when it happens because they are the ones propagating the bias of the dupe engine.

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absolutely yes. Site with little or no original content is for Google like an affiliate website, which promotes a third part product with third part content and cuts cookie.

https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.de/2008/09/demystifying-duplicate-content-penalty.html

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/76465

  • is there any way to tell if your website is currently being penalized? – Leroy Jan 26 '16 at 20:05
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    @Leroy Open your property in Webmaster Tools, then go to Search Traffic > Manual Actions. – Michael Hampton Jan 26 '16 at 21:37

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