Google Search Traffic to Piracy Websites Down After Algorithm Updates

Piracy sites see a lot of traffic each year. They are guilty of letting people download and distribute copyrighted content like movies and music digitally without permission. They cause loss of revenue to those who own that piece of content or software. Google algorithm update has reportedly shown reduced traffic going to piracy websites. These changes have shown to have big results.

Observations by TorrentFreak

A detailed analysis of year-over-year data shows that between Dec 2019 and Nov 2020, piracy websites have seen traffic reduced by a third. TorrentFreak and MUSO (a piracy tracking company) have published a report which shares information about traffic going to the pirate site from search engines.

Traffic to Piracy Websites is Down by 20%

Traffic going to pirate sites showed a downward movement since January of 2020 and went further down in May 2020. TorrentFreak observes that these downtrends are a result of Google’s first two algorithm updates of last year. 

Man using piracy website

The January update reduced the piracy sites bound traffic, however, the major dent came with the May update. Traffic had reduced by 20% post the May update.

Overall Visits are Down by 10%

Even overall visits to pirate sites reduced by around 10% during the last twelve months. This also points to a lesser interest in these sites from users. An anonymous torrent site has confirmed that traffic to piracy sites has gone down by 35% in the year 2020.

Other Factors Influencing Traffic

There could be other factors that have also resulted in a reduction in traffic to piracy sites. 

Google December Update

google logo display
Editorial credit: Benny Marty /

Google rolled out another update to its core algorithm in December 2020. The results for the same are not out yet. Click here to find out more about the recent updates. 

The Rise of OTT Platforms

Another factor is the increase in streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, etc, reduced the need to depend on piracy for entertainment. They offer a lot of content to viewers at an extremely economical price. The ease of using these sites also trumps the headaches associated with piracy websites. The quality of content and speed of streaming is also better than what is generally downloaded from a piracy site.

Growth of YouTube and Subscription Based Models 

People also searched for value-added content on the internet. These included educational videos on YouTube and other streaming platforms. Udemy reported a multi-fold increase in its course creation and subscriptions. 

Others like Skillshare, Coursera, and Lynda have also seen a tremendous increase in subscriber base. People have invested in learning new skills and there is enough and more material available to help these people hone their skills. 

While it is true that Google has indeed actively worked towards creating a dent, there have been other factors that have passively worked to reduce the traffic to piracy websites as well. 

Paul Andrews
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