Before we go deep into the details regarding Rap Genius and the subsequent banishment from Google search index, it is very important to note that Google did not catch Rap Genius as I explain in the last paragraph of this article. In the rap fraternity the right terminology for what happened to Rap genius is that, they got snitched on. Rap Genius paid the biggest price for trying to game Google in the battle that was arguably the hottest topic during the Christmas period. Rap Genius is one of the top rap and pop lyrics sites in the world if not the biggest. Google penalized Rap Genius for what it called unnatural link building techniques which is a very common trade in the search engine optimisation industry.
Was Rap Genius just unlucky to get caught trying to game Google? Because the truth of the matter is that most of the big and trusted websites are involved in unnatural link building tactics and none of those sites are being penalised and downgraded in the search results. Even when the sites get caught engaging in this unethical SEO tactics, the punishment is usually not severe, as it is the case with Rap Genius. Rap Genius was not taken out of the Google index, which is what Google does mostly to the sites that are found to be engaging in unnatural link building tactics.
Are authority sites like Rap Genius immune to Google’s penalties? From user experience point of view, Google cannot afford to penalise Rap Genius severely because many popular music fans rely on Rap genius for lyrics. Even though one week banishment from the first page of Google search results for Rap Genius might seem like a mockery to the majority of ethical SEO professionals, looking at it from a user experience and satisfaction point of view Google might have a valid reason for the less severe penalty they handed to Rap Genius. And also the fact that Rap Genius did the right thing by apologising publicly about their mistake might have helped their cause for being reinstated to the top of search results.
If it wasn’t for the email conversation between blogger John Marbach and one of Rap Genius’s co-founders that John Marbach posted on his personal website, Google wouldn’t have caught up with Rap Genius’s unethical behavior, which brings to question the effectiveness of Google’s algorithms in dealing with spammy tactics on the web. As Rap Genius claims, the practice of unethical link building is very common in the lyrics search industry and it would be unfair to only target Rap Genius and let other sites reap the rewards of gaming Google search results.
Put on your battle caps and diss me in the comments below if you believe that I am out of line.
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