Google and piracy have a pretty love/hate relationship to say the least. While the search giant is usually quite good at removing any links to sites that facilitate copyright infringement when asked, it apparently doesn't deliberately use its amazing powers to trash their SEO. To the point that it has flat-out denied this, after some accusations.
Last week TorrentFreak published a report about this after noticing The Pirate Bay was ranked differently depending on which country you seemed to be accessing Google from. The most obvious example was searching for the infamous site in the UK, where it appeared on page five or six of search rankings. In the US, however, it was right at the top of page one.
When searching for the site I found that the official PirateBay.org site didn't appear until page six. That said the first page was filled with links to proxy sites which are probably more popular, seeing as how a lot of ISPs have blocked the main site. From what I remember, the more something gets clicked in Google search the better it does.
VentureBeat got in touch with Google regarding the allegations, with the company flat out denying that it deliberately influences search rankings:
“Google hasn’t done anything to purposely demote The Pirate Bay for searches on its name in the named countries. A site’s ranking on Google Search is determined using hundreds of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query, including things like the specific words that appear on websites, the freshness of content, your region, and PageRank.”
Google does, however, penalise sites with large numbers of takedown requests in its ranking algorithms, and has done so for at least five years. Given how well known The Pirate Bay is, it's logical to assume that it would have more than its fair share of those. [VentureBeat]