Google to punish website pirates when calculating search results

Google has once again forced search engine optimisation (SEO) experts to sit up and listen after it announced that websites which publish pirated material would be negatively affected in search results – although SMEs don’t have too much to worry about.

Although the internet giant has said any website which hosts pirated material will be penalised in their rankings, SEO experts say it’s more a matter for publishing groups rather than companies.

“There could be legitimate reasons why someone would be getting a copyright infringement notice against them, but it would be likely they’re something like an alternative news site, or something like that,” StewArt Media chief executive Jim Stewart told SmartCompany this morning.

Last week, Google senior vice president of engineering Amit Singhal said in a blog that it will begin taking into account the number of valid copyright removal notices it receives 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.”

The company is receiving a huge amount of notices – more than 4.3 million in the past 30 days alone. That data will be taken into account in rankings.

“My inner conspiracy theorist tells me there’s been so much pressure for Google to attack these types of sites, that this is why they’re introducing this.”

There is a complication, however, as businesses often post YouTube videos on a company blog. However, they may not have too much to worry about. Over at Search Engine Land, Google has confirmed the new system will take into account specific factors, but that YouTube itself won’t be attacked.

For most businesses, this won’t be a problem as they aren’t likely to receive a huge number of copyright infringement notices over a YouTube video on their blog.

“The YouTube stuff is a little bit different,” Stewart says.

“In the end, I’d urge people to just have their Google Places set up, and incorporate their Google profiles and make sure they are producing content. This isn’t so much a worry for business.”






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