Last week, Google altered their search engine algorithm to demote some of the most “notorious” piracy-related websites. The new algorithm is designed to direct people to legitimate sources of content when they search for terms such as “download”, “free”, or “watch”, displaying prominent links to content providers such as Amazon, Spotify, Netflix and others.
According to a report from Searchmetrics, the change in search algorithm has seriously affected the amount of search traffic that is being directed to pirate websites. Project Free TV, for example, has been hit hard, with one of their domains dropping 96 percent in Searchmetrics SEO visibility rankings.
Other sites to have their search traffic reduced include The Pirate Bay, Torrentz.eu, ZippyShare, ExtraTorrent, and KickassTorrents, which are some of the most popular sources of illegal content on the internet.
The algorithm change appears to be the first time Google has been successful in reducing the visibility of pirate sites in their search engine. In 2012, Google attempted to demote the ranking of sites that the company received a large volume of valid DMCA notices for, however that didn’t help much in reducing visibility.
In addition to demoting pirate sites in their search engine, Google is continuing to comply with takedown requests, removing certain links from ever showing up in search results. In the past year, Google has received over 220 million takedown notices, most of which the company responds to within six hours.