DMCA Takedowns The Latest Google Search Quality Penalty

Aug 13, 2012 • 8:50 am | comments (25) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google PageRank & Algorithm Updates

Google DMCALate Friday, Google tried to quietly announce, in a transparent way, a new factor to be added to Google's search quality signals. The new factor is DMCA requests, where Google will look to lower the rankings of sites with many many valid DMCA takedown requests in the search results.

I posted about this on Friday at Search Engine Land and Danny renamed the update to The Emanuel update as a tribute to how Google is trying to hve goodwill with Hollywood.

In any event, from my understanding of this new factor, it will only impact the top top violators and not impact those with just a few or even hundreds. It really seems to be targeting the top tier of sites that get these notifications. The algorithm has not yet launched yet, so it is hard to tell if that will be in fact true, but that is the impression I am getting from Google.

Google said:

We will begin taking into account a new signal in our rankings: the number of valid copyright removal notices we receive 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.

Danny has written about this extensively since the topic of how with this impact YouTube or Blogger has been brought up. Yes, Google owns both and both would receive tons of DMCA requests because of the nature of the web site. Danny spoke with Google about that concern and he wrote Google: Many Popular Sites Will Escape Pirate Penalty, Not Just YouTube.

Of course, SEOs and webmasters are concerned. Whenever a new algorithm is pushed out, there is reason for concern. If you want to join those asking questions and express your concern, hit the forums. But I honestly believe most webmasters won't see anything from this. I'd be surprised if this impacted more than 1,000 web sites on the web.

I would not be surprised if this lead to a new SEO service for reporting DMCA takedowns at a high high level.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld, Google+ and Google Webmaster Help.

Previous story: Google Search Quality Updates Returns


Gregg Thorpe

08/13/2012 01:04 pm

Although this is said to only affect top tier sites I imagine eventually there will be a trickle-down effect especially if adding this factor ultimately improves the SERPs.

Praveen Sharma

08/13/2012 01:12 pm

Any idea, how Google gonna count at what percentage of complaints they should penalize the complained site?

Alan Rabinowitz

08/13/2012 03:01 pm

Its about time, Why not penalize all sites that have actually been taken down in the past, even if its just a part of the site???????

Mike Kalil

08/13/2012 04:39 pm

So we should expect YouTube's rankings to tank then?


08/13/2012 04:40 pm

"In any event, from my understanding of this new factor, it will only impact the top top violators and not impact those with just a few or even hundreds." Moron! Yeah, like Panda and Penguin that target "spammers." Because Google said so.


08/13/2012 06:48 pm

how to send DMCA request to google...any idea

Barry Schwartz

08/13/2012 07:58 pm

Soon enough, we will see if I am right. I never said that with Panda or Penguin. I just have a feeling that when this goes live, the SEO industry won't go nuts. If/when I am wrong, I'll be the first to say so here. No need to call me a moron. :)

Barry Schwartz

08/13/2012 07:59 pm

Barry Schwartz

08/13/2012 07:59 pm

No, I explained why not above.

Barry Schwartz

08/13/2012 07:59 pm

Nope, but I think most won't have an issue.


08/13/2012 11:11 pm

This might seem great but lately people are using dmca reports to just get links removed due to those warning letters. Lying and saying it was not authorized, and reports are just for link itself not copying of any contents. So maybe it will only be 1000 websites but how many of those did nothing wrong except allow a link on their site. I honestly think high % of directory sites, article sites, social sites will get hit and real offenders wont. Usually how it goes with google.


08/14/2012 07:16 am

How do you know if google have recieved dmca complaints? I had received one complaint from my hosting company about dmca, but never from Google. Will they tell you or will they just count those complaints but not inform you? Rick.

SEO First

08/14/2012 09:53 am

Better late than never! Google, we welcomed your move! Only request, please tell us how a webmaster will come to know if his site is claimed for copying content?

Peter Daams

08/14/2012 01:04 pm

Can't be good for blogspot :)

Nick Stamoulis

08/14/2012 01:15 pm

I'm very intrigued to see what sites actually end up getting pinged by this one. For all intensive purposes YouTube should be at the top of the list; they've been fighting copyright issues for a long time. But I'd assume that torrent sharing sites would be the hardest hit.


08/14/2012 02:13 pm

DMCA Takedowns will impact on some sites, like for example those in the piracy game it seems. I would imagine the boost in relavancy in this area would also be incremental to Googles learnings through Google Play and consiquenlty the role which music contnet has on social.


08/14/2012 02:53 pm

Its not like this sites get ranked anyway...This is just PR by Google something out of nothing...So they can say...hey look what we do for Hollywood...Google = STILL EVIL

Kevin Gerding

08/14/2012 07:40 pm

There's a lot of invalid DMCA requests getting tossed around for link removals. I wonder if this is why Google is going to use DMCA complaints in its algorithm. Blogspot and YouTube are the biggest offenders. Will they suffer a penalty? lol


08/14/2012 09:47 pm

ive been trying to get a site that has cloned and coppied my site removed from google search but Google have failed to respond to my DMCA notice compare to its clear that the site has coppied mine the owner is not available via whois - Google should provide a way to report such blatant scrapers!


08/14/2012 11:12 pm

LOL, Google trying to release new algorithm changes every month. Slow down, slow down. Before you go and add more changes, please refresh penguin, it is long over do. Take your time Google. Whats the rush? Out to bury anyone you can?

Debajyoti Banerjee

08/15/2012 09:09 am

Interesting but it might be a good move but need to see how Google implement it.


08/19/2012 02:32 pm

Nice post Barry, I think your right, this is just another scare tactic and like both penguin and panda if your plate is clean you'll have nothing to worry about. The only peole that would have problem with this is the name calling wannabes that steal content from others hard working SEO's I think they deserve a Emanuel slap. Hats off to this update an d your post Barry,keeep them on their toes bro!


11/23/2012 01:09 pm

About time the pirates are seen as breaking the law, I back googles decision 100% Stealing is stealing, plain and simple, but a lot more needs to be done

Seriously Spain

12/18/2012 07:38 am

Hilarious. Every time I've issued a DMCA Google completely ignores it. I've got copies of articles all over the web from one of my sites, and who is Google penalizing? Me. Screw them. I now use Yahoo and Bing for everything as just about every writer I know.

Mark Lane

04/29/2013 08:49 pm

Unfortunately, I have to agree with Seriously Spain. I too have switched to Bing for search results. In all their well intentions to get better results for searchers, Google has simply over thought the issue. The plethora of rules and regulations has only kept out smaller quality web sites. They simply don't have the $$ to hire Google SEO experts. As these smaller websites started to disappear from Google's SERPS, I was only left with pages of eBay, Amazon and other big boxes...not what I define as "quality" results. So, on to Bing and what a's like the old Google. You've seen those Bing / Google tests on TV (like the old Pepsi/Coke challenge of the 70's). It's no surprise that once people begin using Bing, they won't go back. As far as Google is concerned. please give us back the Google before Panda, Penguin and all the other exotic animals and Keep It Simple Stupid!!!!

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