Emanuel’s DMCA: The content ecosystem that Google wants from its update

Andreas Voniatis, 2012-08-12

So here it is, Google’s latest update known as “Emanuel” will now take into account successful Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) request Takedown filings against websites as a ranking factor against websites that have been served notices.  It’s a loud cry for original content.  For those who don’t know, a DMCA infringement is served to a website that has engaged in copyright infringement i.e. stolen content from another website and published it on it’s own domain.  DCMA requests are notoriously hard to apply for and thus require resources to get these filed successfully.  Of course these notices are only accusations, but if someone has taken the trouble to file a complaint then it’s worth noting as these accusations are serious.

The announcement made on Search Engine Land which explains the DMCA incorporation into Google’s system of algorithms is far better explained and in much more detail here.  However, I found it really interesting as it makes a statement about the content ecosystem in the searchable web i.e. how things are now and where things could be heading.

The Newspapers

It’s no secret that the news media are no fans of Google for indexing their content which allows Google to monetise the traffic by serving Adwords.  You could extend that to all webmasters, but the truth is SEO wouldn’t exist and everybody would be blocking the search engines via robots.txt if they resented Google indexing their content.  However, some newspaper groups such as News International have taken exception to Google and have erected pay walls preventing Google and users from accessing their content.  Of course the decision wasn’t purely to spite Google, there was likely a commercial consideration also.  The search engines know full well they need newspapers in their index especially as far as Google News’ credibility is concerned.

The Social networks

As Twitter and Facebook snub Google in favour of Bing, Google is attempting to fight back with Google Plus. I don’t see much value in Google Plus other than the rel Author tag and the all the other services like Google Places, and Shopping.  However, as far as real time search is concerned, Twitter is where it’s at. With Twitter you can trends and conversations in real time.  Google doesn’t do that, it takes hours for Google to collect and interpret this data before it can make any sense of the order which is then reflected in the SERPs.


Then there is the video entertainment sector of Hollywood, which is what the DMCA factor is about where Google will remove copyright infringing content hosted on other sites (other than YouTube) from it’s index where a DCMA request has been filed.

So what? and what the content curators?

Google needs these different stakeholders to be participating in it’s index so that it can stay relevant to the user in order to keep serving Adwords.  Remeber Google came to prominence as it was the cool channel for discovering new content on a search you entered.  It was uncluttered unlike the major offering that was Yahoo! in 1998.  The algorithms are not just working to eliminate duplicate content but also content that is not the originator of that content?  What does that say about the principle of press releases, curated regurgitated content?  Not much.

SEO is fast becoming a content production industry where authoritative opinions are required to be expressed in original ways.  The perceived free organic traffic enjoyed to date is increasing being marginalised in the SERPs.  The tactics of hit and run guest posting using low quality writing to be published on whored out websites is likely to be addressed early next year in 2013.  The emphasis is on ORIGINAL not just UNIQUE content – and lots of it.

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