Last week a customer emailed with some advice he received from his SEO consultant:
An SEO professional told me recently that our product pages had too much similar content. For example we have a "shipping and returns" section and "ecology" section that is the same on all product pages and it could cause google to not properly index or sort each page because it could feel like its not new or fresh content.
I just wanted to get a second opinion. Is this duplicated content on each page something that is damaging our SEO?
I think your SEO is being overly cautious.
Duplicate content applies more when an entire page is the same as another page. Like 70-99% of the content. Even then, it's not as big of a deal as people make it out to be.
If Google classifies two pages as duplicate content, they'll just hide the less important one in the search results. It's not penalized, nor the website, one page just isn't shown. There's even a Google option to show duplicate pages if needed.
Likewise, chunks of duplicate content won't matter if the page has other unique content. Google will ignore the duplicated content on the page, especially for things like product shipping or company info (your Ecology).
That's why my recommendation is to have 200-300 words of unique content per page. More is better but I know it can be difficult to write enough for every product.
Google's also pretty smart with content now. They probably already know you're an ecommerce store so if you didn't have shipping or company information, that might look suspect. It could end up that having that content might be considered a good thing, even though it's duplicated. Especially when it comes to manual reviews.
The more important question is, what helps your customers? Would knowing about shipping be a good thing? Absolutely it will. So removing it would be a negative experience for customers that would hurt your conversions and even your SEO.
Today would be a good day to Install JSON-LD for SEO if you haven't yet.
You still have a couple of months before the holiday season. Just enough time to start getting Rich Snippets and beating your competition in the search results.