Google Makes Example of ‘Rap Genius’ as SEO Violator

Google just made an example out of Rap Genius. The search engine giant removed the rap music Web site from the top of its results after alleging it was working to outmaneuver GoogleEUs algorithm.

Rap Genius allows users and artists to explore lyrics interactively via line-by-line annotations they can read, create, and edit. Now, when people search for Rap Genius, they no longer find any direct links to the Web site. Searchers instead find the siteEUs social media accounts, news article and Wikipedia page.

What went wrong? Rap Genius operators, who won $15 million in funding from Andreesson Horowitz in 2012, explained its strategy and revealed where it went wrong. Google could not immediately be reached for comment.

Big Misunderstanding?

EUThatEUs our main SEO strategy: to create an amazing experience for users and hope they prefer us to all other lyrics sites and link to us,EU the company said in a blog post. EUWe believe that any unbiased user would prefer the Rap Genius version over the alternatives -- and that this advantage in quality is responsible for the majority of our search traffic.EU

The company's other strategy, which it employs on a much smaller scale, is to find blogs whose content they think followers will enjoy and ask them to link pages on Rap Genius that are relevant to their posts.

EUWe actually thought we had set this up to be compliant with GoogleEUs linking policy in its Terms of Service, but we messed up and want to explain how,EU the company said. For example, GoogleEUs terms of service declare that sites cannot buy or sell links that pass PageRank. That includes exchanging money for links, or posts that contain links; exchanging goods or services for links; or sending someone a EUfreeEU product in exchange for that person writing about it and including...

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