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Rapped knuckles for Rap Genius, but SEO penalty removed

Google has performed a U-turn on its decision to penalise music criticism and journalism site Rap Genius for  using dubious links to generate more web traffic.

The search engine showed little Christmas cheer towards the site when it bumped it off the first page of search results for “Rap Genius”, giving priority to such results as the site’s Twitter and Wikipedia pages, as a punishment for what it saw as an unethical link generating practice. However, it appears to have softened its stance as of the New Year, and RapGenius.com has returned to the top of the page.

RapGenius, which allows users to post their own interpretations and opinions on rap songs and their lyrics, had asked bloggers to include links to its Justin Bieber pages in return for getting the text and URL of their choice tweeted.

Once it had gathered pace, Google head of webspam Matt Cutts was alerted to the soliciting, and announced that the search engine giant was investigating it. Soon after, the rap site found itself ‘dissed’ to the tune of a hefty SEO penalty.

The site-masters admitted their mistake in a statement that read:

“We effed up, other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop. We’d love for Google to take a closer look at the whole lyrics search landscape and see whether it can make changes that would improve lyric search results.”

It seems that Rap Genius’ vow, together with a mass link-removal campaign across more than 175,000 sites, has led to a change of heart at Google towers. A blue Christmas on page 2 could have been avoided for the site, however, had it steered clear of spammy link gaining and focused its efforts on more ethical methods of driving in traffic.

John is every inch the wordsmith and loves a game of Scrabble above all else. With experience writing for newspapers, John’s time at university was spent studying Creative Writing – something which comes across in his love of the pun.

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