Google has penalised Rap Genius, a website that is dedicated to annotating and interpreting lyrics from popular music, particularly rap and hip-hop, for partaking in an ‘affiliate programme’, using link scheming to manipulate Google results.
Rap Genius contributor John Marbach exposed the website’s link scheme, designed to manipulate their Google rankings. Since being reported, Rap Genius have been removed from the top search results: searching for the site using the query ‘rap genius’ will only show the Rap Genius Twitter account, Facebook and Wikipedia pages, as well as other news show the Rap Genius Twitter account, Facebook and Wikipedia pages, as well as other news related to the penalty.
Rap Genius was offering bloggers tweets and Facebook shares in exchange for linking to the website with keyword rich texts.
The website has since apologised, claiming that they will cease and reverse the practice.They also claimed that their competitors are engaged in the same activities and requested that Google examine the “lyrics search landscape” in order to improve its lyric search results.
The penalty has destroyed Rap Genius’ traffic. On the 23rd December, there were 1,376,535 unique visits to the site. After the penalty, as of the 31st December, there have only been 173,708 unique visits.