After just 10 days Rap Genius is back
Jan04

After just 10 days Rap Genius is back

12SHARESFacebookTwitter It’s taken just 10 days for annotation lyrics website, Rap Genius, to be allowed back into Google’s search results. On the 25 December, 2013 Rap Genius was penalised by Google for engaging in “link schemes”. In a long-winded blog post in Rap Genius’ news section, they described how they managed to get back into Google. They explained that they downloaded the RapGenius.com backlink profile and analysed this data by finding websites that would potentially violate Google’s guidelines. They would then either contact those websites by asking them to remove the links pointing to RapGenius or by asking blog owners to add the rel=”nofollow” attribute to those links. For any links they could not get removed or changed they would add to a disavow list, which they would later submit to Google. They delved into the more technical side of what they did to get back into Google’s search results, which included writing scripts to speed up the process of finding sites that were potentially in violation of Google’s guidelines. However, the question remains whether they’ve managed to succeed in gaining back their old rankings for search terms that were lucrative to their success. Either way, it’s time for them to start the analysing process to see what their rankings look like now. Take a look at these comparison screenshots of what the search results looked like when they were first penalised on the 25 December 2013 to their updated status on the 4 January 2014. When searching for “Rap Genius” on the 25 December, 2013 When searching for “Rap Genius” on the 4 January, 2014 I found this little nugget. Rap Genius appears to back in the search results for Eminem’s song “I’m Back” It’s listed as second place in the SERP after AZ Lyrics, one of the many other lyrics websites that Rap Genius tried to expose when they themselves were exposed. In my opinion they’ve managed to get back in the search results relatively quickly due to the fact they’ve done quite a bit to find unnatural links, by creating scripts, analysing their backlink profile, and being quite open throughout the whole process. If they did indeed communicate with Google throughout this, then their response is one to mark as an example for other big websites that may in the future go through the same...

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Did Rap Genius Fool Us All?
Dec28

Did Rap Genius Fool Us All?

12SHARESFacebookTwitter If you type Rap Genius into Google you’ll find that Rap Genius is being mentioned quite a lot with their website being linked to on some very high authority websites including sites such as the LA Times, IB Times, Gawker, Billboard.com and a plethora of other sites linking to the either the homepage or apology blog post on RapGenius.com. I thought I’d put together a list of sites that are now linking to Rap Genius as a result of their de-listing on Google. Search Engine Land Billboard.com Gawker IB Times All Things D The Verge Tech Crunch Rolling Stone Spin.com LA Times Washington Post Mashable PC Magazine Huffington Post Tech Radar ABC News Wall Street Journal The Wire A lot of these sites have linked to RapGenius.com in the past, so the impact is likely to a lesser importance than new sites that have never linked to Rap Genius. For example, PC Mag, TechRadar, ABC News, and Search Engine Land are first timers when it comes to even mentioning Rap Genius — let alone linking to their website. This makes their links of higher value, as they are simply links that never existed on those sites before. Will these high authority sites benefit Rap Genius? Whilst these high authority links to Rap Genius won’t benefit rankings now, will they once Rap Genius are out of Google’s sandbox? It’s quite interesting as these are links that would not have been easy to get, but they now have these links because of this entire link scheme debacle. If irony could be described in the link building world, then this would be the perfect example of it. In fact, these links are worth more to the future of Rap Genius than the supposed “affiliate” or ‘Links for a Tweet’ scheme they employed — had they not been caught. It will be interesting to monitor their comeback once they’ve disavowed or contacted the bloggers they enrolled on this link building adventure of theirs. Why was Rap Genius Penalised? Why are links important for websites? An elaborate scheme that has played into the hands of Rap Genius The question remains, did Rap Genius fool us all? Did they plan this even bigger and more elaborate event of obtaining linkbacks to their own site? They sure did churn out that large apology letter (with annotations) on their own site rather quickly, which is where all these big sites have been linking. I also have to say bravo to John Marbach, who has now gained more links to his own site and exposure to his email service than he could have ever dreamed. I doubt John...

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Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong
Dec26

Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong

14SHARESFacebookTwitter On Christmas day, Google penalised a large US-based lyrics website and removed its presence from the SERPs. John Marbach, the guy that exposed Rap Genius wrote an article on his blog entitled “RapGenius Growth Hack Exposed” detailing how Rap Genius had improved its search rankings by enticing bloggers to add linkbacks to Rap Genius’ website that contained heavily targeted anchor text — in exchange for a Tweet to said page. (A link for a Tweet) This is what the search results look like when you search for “Rap Genius” at the moment: As you can see RapGenius.com can’t be seen other than on other websites mentioning the now penalised website. This is the sort of link building that RapGenius.com has been doing: That’s just asking for trouble. That’s 16 links to the same site with targeted keyword anchor text to specific pages on the RapGenius.com website. The reason they got caught? They weren’t careful enough. This sort of link building activity likely sent alarm bells ringing, and the fact that they were publicly exposed and publicly reaching out to bloggers like this on Facebook was just another nail in the coffin or even the final nail in the coffin. What’s the course of action? Rap Genius can definitely bounce back from this, as we’ve seen this sort of penalty with brands like Interflora and BMW. They need to contact all of the sites that they’ve reached out to delete the linkbacks to RapGenius.com or either disavow them. Now Rap Genius’ entire backlink profile will be under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether they recover from this. I don’t see why they shouldn’t recover from this if they act quickly. Another point is the fact they’ve likely gained a lot of attraction, as major sites like TechCrunch are now linking to RapGenius.com, which should count for them when they get back on their feet. It’s really quite interesting how a negative can also be a positive. Obviously the negativity of this is at a much higher percentage, but sometimes you just have to look at the positives — even if minimal. Matt Cutt’s “When penguins attack” post on Twitter When penguins attack! Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/iEs9yKBVXC — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) December 25, 2013   What’s your take on...

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