Beginning this week, Google will be penalizing certain sites that are frequently accused of violating copyright laws.
In a blog post Friday morning, Google explained the change this way:
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….
Rights groups such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Motion Picture Association (MPA) and many others have accused Google of making pirated content more visible than content that belongs to copyright owners, and told Google that it should change its search algorithm to fight piracy.
And that’s precisely what this week’s changes appear set to do.
Coincidentally, though, some of the most well-known sites that host copyright-infringing material are likely to be unaffected. In the dustup after Google’s announcement, many industry observers wondered if Google’s own YouTube would get less visibility. But Google told our sister site, Search Engine Land, that YouTube and other popular sites aren’t likely to be hit.
We’re treating YouTube like any other site in search rankings. That said, we don’t expect this change to demote results for popular user-generated content sites.
It’s a fairly complex issue with more nuance than some reports have taken into account. For a full look at what Google announced and what it means for marketers, have a look at these current articles on Search Engine Land:
- The Emanuel Update: Google Will Penalize Sites Repeatedly Accused Of Copyright Infringement
- How YouTube Will Escape Google’s New Pirate Penalty
- Google: Many Popular Sites Will Escape Pirate Penalty, Not Just YouTube