Google recently sent a document to the U.S. Copyright Office which shows the degree at which a site can be damaged by being hit by the Pirate Update.
On February 8, 2022, Google stated “when a site is demoted [by the Pirate update], the traffic Google Search sends it drops, on average, by 89% on average.” That statement came directly from Google about their efforts to remove those sites which they “received a large number of valid removal notices” as DMCA requires, which brings us to the Google Pirate update.
The Pirate update. The Pirate update, which Google coined as the DMCA update, takes a site, and if that sits shs had a large volume of DMCA takedown requests then they demote the site. Google only confirmed this last 8+ years ago. It is without a question that Google doesn’t update their algorithms regularly. They update periodically to catch new sites that may be copying copyrighted content from others and then inform us periodically.
Google said in the new PDF document “we have developed a ‘demotion signal’ for Google Search that causes sites for which we have received a large number of valid removal notices to appear much lower in search results.”
89% demotion. The 89% demotion document written by Google states that when sites are demoted by this algorithm, they are hit by as great as 89%. The document states “When a site is demoted, the traffic Google Search sends it drops, on average, by 89% on average.”
Targeting Redirect tricks. Google also launched a new flag called“still-in-theaters/prerelease” that will pick up on when a site redirects to a new domain without that flag. Google said, “We have also made it much harder for infringing sites to evade demotion by redirecting people to a new domain.” Google added “we have added a “still-in-theaters/prerelease” flag for DMCA notices involving this category of content to enhance the Search demotion signal.”
This report comes via TorretFreak, a publication that tracks the latest news about DMCA’s, copyright, privacy and related topics.
Why should you care. This puts the power back in the creators hands via services like ours, DMCA takedown requests. Since we submit more than 3 million DMCA Removals per month, If a site gets hit by the Pirate update, you can expect we would diminish that site and it’s piracy by having 89% less traffic from Google Search.
So if you run into any clients during an audit that have these notices, which you might see Search Console notification, then maybe check the Google transparency report for the domain and then maybe request reconsiderations after cleaning up the issues.