As the world’s numero uno search engine, Google holds major sway over which businesses, products and social networking trends generate web traffic and make headlines. This article looks at the new Google algorithm coding.
Rising to the top of Google rankings doesn’t happen by accident. It’s no secret that Google uses complex algorithms to prioritise its search results.
Working the system to your advantage – what has become known as ‘search engine optimisation’ or SEO – is a craft in itself, hence the importance of specialist firms such as SEO Web Marketing who keep up to date with Google coding.
Unfortunately, it’s not just legitimate businesses that know the tricks of the trade. So, in a rare and surprise move, Google has been forced to modify the way it calculates its search results. Its aim? To weed out those terrors of the entertainment industry – internet pirates.
Unsurprisingly, the tweaks have been applauded by recording labels and film studios. They have long been irked at Google for not doing more to counteract the illegal copying and distribution of music and movies.
So, what new Google coding has been adopted and what practical difference will it make to business?
Simply put, Google’s boffins have worked out a way to detect which sites are clocking up more “valid copyright removal notices” than others. A high incidence of these notices suggests that nefarious activity is being funnelled through the website in question.
Sites red-flagged by Google’s automatic detection system will essentially be penalised by being shifted further down results listings.
The new formula should help legitimate customers find genuine content faster. Crucially for Google, it prevents it from having to adopt the more Draconian tactic of evicting websites from its listings entirely. Blacklisting invites questions not only of censorship but also – more fundamentally – the issue of who ‘owns’ the internet?
After Google announced the changes, you could almost hear the cry of ‘about time’ from the music and movie industry. However, one could speculate on how much choice Google really had in the matter.
The entertainment goliaths were becoming increasingly strong-armed in their campaign against fire-sharing. Indeed, a $1bn lawsuit by media giant Viacom against Google-owned YouTube in 2007 was re-instated by an appeal court as recently as April this year.
Despite the changes it has made to its coding, Google may still face an uphill battle to significantly dent copyright abuse. A recent survey by XTN data showed more than one-in-four internet users had at some time acquired paid-for material, for free, by illegal means.
As file-sharers get smarter and downloaders get bolder, it will be interesting to see whether Google introduces any further revisions to its coding to ensure even more pirates walk the plank…