It’s a known fact that Google rolls out updates on a regular basis to provide optimal search results and combat spam. Most of the time Google updates may help the algorithms better understand the meaning of a search, identify unnatural link profiles or new methods for displaying results.
But the Pirate 2.0 update is different, because this one is all about giving the boot to websites that don’t belong in search results to begin with. The month of October 2014 may have just been the rapid, unexpected, yet anticipated demise of the illegal file sharing sites that have been stealing profits from entrepreneurs and businesses since the dawn of the internet.
What was the Pirate 2.0 update and what prompted the roll-out?
This update is pretty major, and is actively targeting copyright infringement by aggressively de-indexing websites offering free (probably not legal) content such as torrent sites, free movie, tv show and mp3 sharing sites.
We’re all well aware that sites like the Pirate Bay and Movie4k aren’t the most legitimate websites around. Without much Internet law to govern or set justice to these webmasters and/or businesses, it seems as though Google has been hesitant to take any clear and blatant action against these websites showing up in their search results.
On one hand you have to understand the complexity of their position as far as algorithms are concerned. If someone types in “download [insert song name here] free online”, I hate to say it but Google will probably do a pretty good job of getting you that result! I’m not sure what the happy medium will be in this situation but we can’t argue with the fact that Google is doing the right thing.
How did Pirate 2.0 effect search results and infringing sites?
As previously mentioned a very small % of websites were effected by Pirate 2.0 because this update was VERY specific. However those website which were effected, were hit HARD if not completely banished from the world of Google forever.
You might notice now, if you search certain queries you might see a message in place of a search result that reads:
In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 1 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at: [URL HERE]
Marcus from Search Metrics did some research that shows some of the big players in the “free stuff that shouldn’t be free” niche of the internet space lost as much as 98% SEO visibility!
So where’s that remaining 2% SEO visibility still coming from? That’s a rhetorical question, but their organic traffic is probably limited to searches for the website’s domain name at this point. And even then, those results might just be that pleasant DMCA notice we now see in search results on occasion. Google clearly wasn’t messing around.
At the end of the day, I suppose justice gets served one way or another. Who knows how much revenue these websites are earning by sharing stuff they shouldn’t be, but they should be thankful their flow of unethical revenue was slashed by Google and not a judge at a local courthouse.
What does this mean for online entrepreneurs and digital product marketers?
Well, with Google cracking down on piracy we could expect it’s going to be harder for freebie seekers to get their hands on digital products without paying for them, this could be a good thing. It would be a reasonable conclusion that digital product marketers and online entrepreneurs might see an increase in profits because of this – But “getting free stuff online” has been a trend that’s been going strong for decades so it will take some time to break that habit.
Just because Google’s pulling sites from its index, doesn’t mean they don’t still exist. It also doesn’t mean that these websites aren’t still showing in search results in other search engines like Yahoo or Bing. But worst case scenario, if they are, I’d bet a hefty chunk of change that they’re not far behind in their own goals to fight piracy and protect intellectual property on the web.
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