When news hit that Google would begin taking the number of DMCAs a website receives into its ranking algorithm, there was a definite split among SEOs about whether it was a smart move or not.  On the one hand, it would negatively impact scraper sites or websites that have lifted content from one of their own sites.  And on the other side, website owners who have unfairly received a DMCA could be negatively impacted.

So where does that leave SEOs?  Well, with DMCAs a confirmed piece of the Goggle algo ranking puzzle, you can bet your AdSense check that one of the things some of the blacker SEOs will be doing is automatically filing multiple DMCAs against competitor sites.  It won’t be very long before we see a huge uptick in the number of DMCAs filed in the industry.  After all, any little thing to help your client rank, right?  And if you think people will be scared off by the fact it is a legal document, think again.  Currently there is no verification for anyone submitting a DMCA so it could be easily filed with a fake name.

The only downside is that DMCAs also are filed publicly on Chilling Effects, so those competitors can easily see someone has filed a DMCA and then file a counter-DMCA.  But how a counter-DMCA will affect the Google algo is unknown – does one negate the other?  Or will some companies not even know they have a DMCA filed against them if it goes to some generic email address nobody checks.

The change with DMCAs affecting the algo is a good one on one level – on the surface it appears to be targeting scraper-type sites, but really, you would think Google’s algo could already take care of those types of sites without resorting to DMCA sites.   Or it could be targeting those who “repurpose” content, but again, Google’s algos currently impact duplicate content pretty well.

So the bigger question that needs to be asked is this – what types of sites are Google hoping to impact with these changes since current algos catch the obvious reasons already?  What if they are doing it as a measurement to see what sites are potentially being targeted by those using negative SEO tactics?  Now that is the real food for thought, if filing a DMCA against a competitor could show Google that someone in the space is resorting to negative SEO to rank better, especially when counter-DMCAs are filed.

So before you get all gun happy with DMCAs against competitors, take a moment to question just what Google is doing with that data.  Particularly if they are using it as a signal not just to flag sites that are legitimately committing copyright infringement, but potentially using it as a signal that it is being targeted by negative SEO, especially when it becomes obvious just where the content originated from.

By seobitch

Seobitch is a pen name for a well known female expert in the SEO industry that most of you likely already follow. She has more than a dozen years experience and is a very respected expert in the field. Seobitch can be controversial but writes about issues that most people are afraid to talk about due to their employers, clients or friends. She also loves to tackle industry issues from a different point of view than what you normally see the "complainers" of the industry complaining about. She is also open to suggestions for future topics you would like to see the SEObitch tackle.

15 thoughts on “DMCA: The New Negative SEO or is it Google’s Tattler Tool?”
  1. I think merely serving a Dmca wont flag a website in serps. The problem comes when it is successfully executed. You can always go ahead and file counter DMCA if you are the rightfull owner.

    1. I seriously hope you right. In fact, that is the way Google should go about executing this DMCA thing.

  2. They are doing it with legitimate marketing tatics, laying off the spammer bots, and optimizing on-page SEO while creating successful link wheels. Something to think about.

  3. You make a really good point at the end of this article about how Google will use the data. You never know exactly how a company like Google will use any given piece of information it collects. It might not always be what it seems to be on the surface.

  4. Google want to penalize small and websites that get content from other websites to give more attention to big websites that spend big money on promotion and marketing, small players in their way to disappear from top serps, pure capitalism!

  5. […] Read more:  DMCA: The New Negative SEO or is it Google's Tattler Tool … […]

  6. I think DMCA’s should be found true before it can affect the website. Google knows this I’m sure. Probably they just want negative SEO and spammers to come out in the open.

    1. I think you give Google too much credit. Yes, they’re smart….but not always! Do you really think spammers are going to leave obvious footprints? Also if G was as smart as everyone thinks…their search results wouldn’t be gamed so much.

      If there’s one thing i’ve learnt from Google’s stupidity over the years…it’s to take whatever they say with a grain of salt untill they actually impliment the ideas in their results. Thats when you can determin how smart or stupid they really are….

  7. Don’t know what will happen to all the adsense ready sites. Or Jokes sites for an example.

  8. Filing under a fake name is something that has happened to a friend of mine. He couldn’t take action either which was the main bugbear. Spammers won’t come into the open since the market is still rife with them and they can make a good profit from freelancing sites advertising jobs with less than ethical requirements!

  9. […] more here:  DMCA: The New Negative SEO or is it Google's Tattler Tool … This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged kind, laying-off, molly, spammer, […]

  10. Thanks for a great source of info , as a freelance website designer & search engine optimisation consultant i’m pleased to see a blog utilized properly

  11. You really bring up a great point. More and more I am getting concerned with what Google is doing with my data. Especially with all these Bing commercials that talk about how they read our email from gmail accounts. Do you think we should be worried?

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