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Google Link Removal Requests Surpass 345 Million In 2014

Google’s Pirate Update has led to millions of link removal requests in an attempt to make a dent in the illegal streaming websites.


According to Torrent Freak, who have analysed Google data, Google have had about 345 million requests for removal via their Pirate project last year – that’s over 1 million every day. The requests come from mainly copyright owners, but also others and this is an increase of 75% since 2013. According to Torrent Freak, the majority seem to be linked to three URLs –, and, with over 5 million removal requests each.

Removing the Links

Google’s Pirate algorithm was set up to combat this sort of fraudulence, and these URLs have certainly found themselves sliding down the SEO rankings scale thanks to this algorithm change. Although not all of the 345 million requests were agreed to, a sizeable number were, showing how important Google’s Pirate algorithm is.

In UK, it seems that one of the largest requesters for removal of information was BPI (British Phonographic Industry) – a group who represents the UK music industry, having had over 60 million URLs removed. BPI is an important organisation within the music industry, who is always tackling issues which are relevant in their area, and this just goes to show the size of the problem.

Who’s Requesting Removal Links

It probably comes as no surprise that the top three sites in the removal request ranking were file sharing sites, and therefore even less of a surprise that amongst the biggest removal requesters are BPI, Fox and Universal.

Whilst it seems that requesters would rather see Google try to deal with the problem, Google take a different approach. By using examples such as Netflix, Spotify and iTunes, they have shown that piracy often comes from a lack of legitimate material being conveniently, widely and inexpensively available. If businesses sold their products at a good price and easily whilst offering everything that a consumer wants, there would be a much lower need for piracy.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The problem with piracy is that the bad guys are just as clever as the good guys. This means that companies such as Google as well as the businesses themselves need to stay on top of their game to avoid a massive piracy problem. The idea of selling music and films online isn`t likely to go away any time soon, in fact if anything, it is set to increase, and as more and more aspects of our lives are conducted online, piracy is set to become an ever increasing issue to be dealt with.

One name which doesn`t appear in the take down rankings however, is Google’s very own YouTube. It would be very surprising if they haven’t had many removal requests and yet they don`t appear in the listings. We’ll leave that to your imagination…

So what can we learn from this information? Mainly the importance of Google`s intervention in combating online fraud, as well as the need for businesses to take a little responsibility in providing a better experience for those who would otherwise go to a pirate site.

Written By

Danny Hall is the Co-Director for the South-East's leading Search Engine Optimisation agency - Freelance SEO Essex.

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