What is Google Pirate Algorithm Update

  • August 3, 2017
  • SEO



Piracy has become a significant issue in the digital era. Although multiple major companies such as Sony and Disney have been trying to fight the problem of piracy aggressively, they haven’t precisely had much success in that aspect. Defeating the piracy issue became a significant issue when it came to battling the biggest culprit of it all – Google.
Obviously, it isn’t Google that’s producing the content that’s pirated. However, Google plays a significant role in the distribution of the material. In the least, it can be explained in this way – Google’s index makes content that is pirated, searchable to the individuals who search for it.

With search engines been openly available for pirated media, Google seeks to ensure that they stay on the good side of major entertainment industries. Hence, proceeds with the introduction of the Google “Pirate” update.


What exactly is the “Google Pirate Update and how does it work?

Google introduced the Pirate Update in 2012 as a new way to demote pirated sites on their search engine results that have a large number of violated copyright notes. The Google Pirate Update is basically a filter which is designed to prevent sites with multiple reports of copyright infringement filed through Google’s DMCA system, from being well ranked in Google’s search listings. The filter is updated from time to time. When this happens, if the right improvements have been made, sites that previously escaped may be impacted. The filter may also be able to catch new pirated sites, and may also be able to release sites that were falsely accused of piracy.

Several months after the most recent Google Pirate Update, looking at the impact it has had would make users aware of what is going on.


The following information is what we are currently aware of about the Google Pirate Update:

  1. The Google Pirate Update issued penalties for websites that received a higher report of copyright violations.
    In this method, the two primary tasks done by the Pirate Update system are:
    1) Finding different sites with multiple copyright violations.
    2) Lowering the rank of those sites.

Previously, before the issuing of the Google Pirate Update, a user that would be searching for a movie would be presented with pirated content because of high ranking in search results. Currently, however, the user would be presented with standard non-pirated content as top search results. Many pirated search results experienced a drop of more than 96% for visibility in search results. However, you can still find the pirated sites through Google’s index, as long as you use specific website names to search for these items. What you’re not going to get is multiple significant pirated websites through your organic search results.

  1. The update helps reapply the DMCA penalty.
    DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
    This act was signed onto the law back in 1988. The DMCA law has issued that it is a criminal offense to distribute or produce anything that is protected by the Digital Rights Management. The Digital Rights Management technology attempts to try preventing individuals from stealing or copying digital content. For this reason, trying to steal or distribute digital content that is protected by the Digital Rights Management is a criminal activity. However, not all of the individuals who distribute digital content is guilty and considered criminal, especially Online Service Providers and Internet Service Providers. These Providers are protected by the Safe Harbor provision of the law.
  2. Google’s updated Algorithm increases chances for takedowns.
    Multiple smaller piracy sites don’t have the implementation of DMCA requests to be taken down. These sites are still doing pretty well on search engines and show up when users do their searches.

Unfortunately for Google’s attempt to take down these piracy sites, piracy sites are quite efficient in protecting themselves from being taken down. These sites even sponsor links or advertisements for individuals to protect themselves through IP and identity masking. However, with the new update, Google’s chances for takedowns are increasing significantly and hope to up those numbers in the long run.

  1. Google’s pirate update has helped the media and artists.
    Piracy dates back to as long as the internet itself.
    Ever since a system to distribute content appeared, multiple sites are willing to do so in illegal and dishonest ways.

Piracy is something that ruins the actual producers of content, such as publishing houses, musicians, artists, movie studios. Revenue for their original material is lost when their content is illegally distributed.
Piracy is something that should be aggressively dealt with. The more aggressive the punishment, the safer from piracy the world will be.

  1. Google is very serious about their piracy issues.

    Google has partnered with the famous Paramount Pictures for the promotion and to popularize content. They’ve created a “content ID” for copyright owners to monitor and control their content.
    The rate of takedowns has been at a rush for over a million in a day. At the beginning of writing, Google reported that statistically, there were more than 38 million requests for removals in a month. Over the next few months, the rate of removal requests grew rapidly and considerably.

In conclusion, we can find that The Pirate Update isn’t a regular algorithm change. This algorithm is a procedure that is highly targeted at a specific part of the Internet.

If you’re running or operating a torrent site, you do have a reason to worry. If you’re hit with DMCA takedown requests, this may be an issue for you. The Google Pirate Update algorithm penalizes websites that have been struck with a higher recording of takedown requests automatically.

For the most of us, however, speaking of the marketers, entrepreneurs, and SEO specialists, there’s very little to worry about. This is because we’re not trying to direct traffic to illegal sites.

Google will continue to release a number of updates which would include algorithms in the future. However, different websites would need to be of high-quality content and challenging for competitors to be able to take on the changes ahead.

Washeen Alagiyawadu is a Web Developer, Designer and one of the Top 25 SEO Experts in USA.

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