I spotted an interesting thread at Google Webmaster Help where a manufacturer is upset that his vendors outrank him for his own products. The manufacturer provides an XML feed for their vendors and resellers to use and sell, but it is the same content the manufacturer uses on his own site.
He asked what he can do to make sure Google knows that his site is the source of this content and thus rank higher than his resellers? In that, Google's JohnMu replied offering a glimpse of insight into how to differentiate his content and make it unique enough for Google to find it rank worthy.
JohnMu spoke a bit about the Google algorithms, saying:
Our algorithms don't count characters, but they try to find unique content in a sense. I wouldn't worry too much about the length, I'd just make sure that you have pages about your software on your site that do not contain just the content that you're syndicating via the XML file. Adding a sentence or two is one way to do this, even better would be to make it completely unique. Keep in mind that the unique content is not only for Googlebot -- your visitors will want to see it too. As the developer of your software, I'd assume that you would know it much better than the other sites, so as a user, I would expect to find more and more detailed information on your site. I bet that's already the case, so perhaps you're already all set :).
- Character count not important
- Unique "sense" is important
- Two unique sentences may do the trick
- Use content your not sending to resellers
None of this is crazy, but we do see Google saying things that they may not have said in the past. Such as the length of the content is not important, a sentence or two may be enough to make it unique enough and something about "unique sense."
Forum discussion at Google Webmaster Help.