While not nearly as famous or influential as either Panda or Penguin, the algorithm typically called “Pirate” has gotten a long overdue update. The update, which began rolling out on October 17th, is designed to try to push sites that promote illegal downloads off of the search results pages. For example, torrent sites are less likely to show up in the search results than ever before.
This algorithm has been in place since 2012, and only had a couple of updates since then. According to reports, however, this latest update is the biggest in its history. Search terms like download, free, watch and others are going to be mostly impacted. There are, of course, many other factors that are going to be worked into the update to help Google pinpoint which sites are offering illegal content.
The update should not impact the ethical marketer at all, but if you are trying to attract traffic from these types of searches, you may have found your Google traffic has dropped to almost nothing. Some sites are reporting traffic drops from 50% to nearly 100% almost overnight.
While in theory this won’t cause too many problems to those reading this report, it is important to be aware of any algorithm changes made by Google. In addition, if you have an unexplainable drop in traffic on or just after October 17th, this could be the reason. Contacting Google to let them know that your site may have been improperly included could provide you with some guidance.