Original and unique content is always something Google says is a very important aspect of ranking and providing value. But what about when you sell a commodity item that everyone else sells, like pens or home appliances and so on?
You and a thousand other web sites are given the same photos, product descriptions, specifications, videos and so on from the manufacturer that everyone else gets. What makes your content better without you doing something better with the content manually?
The answer is nothing but does it matter?
Google's John Mueller, in a Google Webmaster Hangout talked about just that. You can hear it around 20 minutes into that video or by clicking on the question:
Let's say a company uses product descriptions on their own site and at the same time provides the descriptions via a database to official retailers who might reuse them on their website. How can correct content attribution / ownership be ensured?
John answered that in these cases, they won't look into ownership of the content. Yes, he said that. Here is the transcription:
So, for example, if there's an online store that's selling a book, and it's selling it worldwide, and there's also a local bookstore that's selling the same book and on the site they have the same description as the big general online store, and if we can recognize that a user wants to find local content, then maybe we'll show them the local version.
And if we can recognize that the user doesn't want to find just local content but something maybe they can buy online, then maybe we'll show them the global version...
So it's not something where we'd say that if you wrote this product description your site will always be ranking for queries for that product description, but rather we'll try to show them the appropriate version that matches what we think the user is looking for.
So in some cases, maybe original source of content is not always the most important thing.
Original content here, is not king - at least with product descriptions.
Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.