10 day Google penalty lifted for Rap Genius
Lyrics site Rap Genius has appeared back in Google search results 10 days after receiving a penalty for helping to create "unnatural links".
The "Rap Genius blog affiliate program" is said to have been the main reason for the penalisation. In a presumed bid to improve rankings, Rap Genius was found to be promoting blog posts on its social media in exchange for bloggers including links back to lyrics pages on the site.
In a Rap Genius blog post on the subject, the founders said "on guest posts, we appended lists of song links [...] that were sometimes completely unrelated" and "we offered to promote any blog whose owner linked to an album on Rap Genius in any post regardless of its content."
The site received a "manual action" from Google for "unnatural links" on Christmas Day, which caused its pages to decrease dramatically in rankings. In the 10 days in which the site did not rank highly, Quantcast showed that this massively impacted on the traffic as the number of unique visits dropped from 700,000 a day to 100,000.
A steady return to search results
Rap Genius quickly followed the 4-step approach as recommended by Google in order to fix the problem.
To help check every single one of the 177, 781 URLs containing links back to the site, the founders created a scraper which ranked all the URLs in terms of their suspiciousness, while they also manually examined a number of URLs.
After asking blog owners to remove links and disavowing all others, Rap Genius has now started to rank again in Google search rankings for the term "rap genius" as well as a number of lyrics pages.
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, has said: "Similar to the Interflora site, Google has allowed Rap Genius to rank once again. As both sites are useful, relevant and provide users with high quality content, it makes sense that the search engine giant has allowed them back into search results after correcting their guideline violations."