Data from online textbook subscription service Perlego showed that Google’s recent adjustments to search algorithms may intensify the trend of online book piracy. Using search engine optimization (SEO) analysis tool Ahrefs, and search traffic monitoring tool Keywords Everywhere, Perlego has monitored the search traffic of major online book pirating sites for five years.
The monitoring results show that the traffic of some of the most popular book piracy websites has surged recently, and this coincides with the two-part core update Google performed on its search results in June and July. Perlego data shows that since the first part of Google’s search algorithm update in June, traffic to a pirated website has soared by 478%, from approximately 31,000 unique visits per month to 183,000.
The number of visits to another pirated website surged by 200% during the same period, from 78,000 unique visits per month to 236,000. There is also a pirated website. Although the number of visits dropped slightly in September, it still increased significantly compared to before Google updated its algorithm. Before the update, the monthly unique visits to the site were 43,000, compared with 154,000 in September, an increase of 258%.
Perlego Search Engine Optimization Director Tom Blackshire said: After Google’s June and July updates, we saw a surge in online piracy traffic, which caused publishers to lose a lot. Google Hoping to make sure that people can find what they are looking for, they have focused on this in the last two updates. But now, pirated sites seem to be paying off.
According to a study published by Digimarc and Nielsen in 2017, US publishers lose approximately US$300 million each year due to people downloading illegal books online. Today, this number may be even higher. An engineering book called Rocket Propulsion Elements can be legally purchased for as much as $125. Based on the number of searches for this book on pirated sites, Perlego calculated that for this book alone, Wiley would lose nearly $900,000 a year.
According to Aref Matin, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Willie Publishing, this is a major and ongoing challenge, not only through Google, but also through content creators, governments, search companies, and individuals. Include a multi-pronged approach to solve the problem. Martin also pointed out that search engines are in a unique position. They can not only delete pirated content found on the Internet, but they can also implement smarter technologies to prevent large-scale infringements from happening, so as to do this more proactively.