Google has set its sights on copyright violators in its latest push to rid the search results of poor-quality websites.
Over the past year, the number of URL removal requests due to copyright violations has soared, mostly from media companies and brands looking to protect their interests. Now Google has agreed to punish repeat offenders by dropping them to a lower rank in search. This drop is based on the number of valid copyright removal notices, not just complaints. So any website that has received a copyright removal notice really should take action – it could impact your ranking in Google and visitors numbers, if you don’t.
The most common offenders are illegal download and streaming websites for movies, music, TV shows and books. So with this news, they’re officially on notice!
Here’s the official announcement from Google’s Senior Vice President of Engineering, Amit Singhal:
Starting next week, we will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive for any given site. Sites with high numbers of removal notices may appear lower in our results. This ranking change should help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu or new music streamed from Spotify.
You may be wondering why this penalty is only coming into effect now when copyright violations across the web has been an issue for a number of years now. Google says the change is only now happening because it finally has the data it needs:
Since we re-booted our copyright removals over two years ago, we’ve been given much more data by copyright owners about infringing content online. In fact, we’re now receiving and processing more copyright removal notices every day than we did in all of 2009—more than 4.3 million URLs in the last 30 days alone. We will now be using this data as a signal in our search rankings.
Which sites are likely to be hit? Well Google already has a list of over 5 million URL requests to work through, which should keep them busy for a while. This includes this list of the top 30,000+ domains identified in the past month as having the most requests against them – you can bet this is where Google will get started.