Beginning today, Google will add another facet to its already complex algorithm by lowering search rankings for websites that have “high numbers” of copyright-infringement removal requests. An example of this, which most people have seen, is the sad faced box on Youtube that states “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by …” This requests are available due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which allows copyright holders to ask Google to remove links to URL’s that are directed at unauthorized use of material. However, with Youtube being one of the largest video hosting websites and undoubtedly receiving countless numbers of removal requests, there will be no change for their rankings. Google declined to comment on the reasons why, but we all know they wouldn’t want to hurt their own profits.
The sites that will feel the brunt of the algorithm change will be sites that allow users to download copyrighted material free-of-charge, like Files-Tube and Torrent Hound, and Mega Upload if they were still around. A Google spokesman commented, “It’s not because we’re hand-picking anything… Generally speaking, we’re about promoting what’s relevant to our users.
What does this mean to your website and rankings?
Simply, make sure your material is your own and if it’s not, make sure the source is properly cited. You can even take an extra step by requesting permission from the owner of the material.