The US search engine giant has come under pressure from Hollywood and the music labels to do more in the fight against copyright infringement.
Google has always publicly said that it should not be expected to 'police' the internet, and it joined other Silicon Valley firms earlier in the year to help block US government legislation that would have given copyright owners greater powers to shut down websites accused of piracy.
However, Google has also been taking action behind the scenes aimed at appeasing its critics. This now includes the application of "valid copyright removal notices" to rankings in its search results, a blog post by Google has confirmed.
Google ranks websites in terms of how many other sites link to them - the more links they get, the higher they are ranked on the search results page and so more likely to attract the attention of users.
But the firm will now also factor in the number of copyright removal notices against websites, meaning any services accused of being repeat copyright offenders could get bumped down in the rankings.
Google wants to help "legitimate, quality sources" of TV, movies, music and other content to move higher up the search rankings, but this new strategy also allows the firm to maintain the stance that it should not be expected to take down pages from results completely.
However, the firm's senior vice president of engineering, Amit Singhal, did not elaborate in the blog post what Google considers to be "valid notices".
The Motion Picture Association of America gave Google's action a lukewarm response, stating its hope that the approach would steer consumers towards legitimate online content.
Michael O'Leary, the senior executive vice president for global policy and external affairs at the MPAA, said: "We are optimistic that Google's actions will help steer consumers to the myriad legitimate ways for them to access movies and TV shows online, and away from the rogue cyberlockers, peer-to-peer sites, and other outlaw enterprises that steal the hard work of creators across the globe.
"We will be watching this development closely - the devil is always in the details - and look forward to Google taking further steps to ensure that its services favour legitimate businesses and creators, not thieves."