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Google Punishes RapGenius For Spammy SEO

Earlier in the week Rap Genius (a lyrics discovery startup), was found to be using unconventional methods to increase their search engine ranking. Anyone that has held a blog/website or even thought about starting one, can tell you how vital a good ranking is, if the service has any chance of succeeding.

What Happened

Rap Genius created a new page on the website earlier in the week and invited bloggers to join their new affiliate program. The startup promised bloggers a massive amount of traffic if they posted links to certain Rap Genius lyrics on their blogs.

If done correctly this approach will trick the search engines believe that this is a very reliable source and that’s why other blogs are linking to it, thus increasing the ranking, which will ultimately result in a higher position in users’ searches. You get the gist of it.

Google’s Action

Of course it all went south for Rap Genius when they were caught cheating. Google contacted them and informed them of the findings and advised them that a decision will be made shortly on what’s to be done with their listings. The startup sent an apology email to the search giant, stating that it was trying to reach more people to enhance their experiences online, which quite honestly is a poor effort in my opinion.

Earlier today Google finally decided to punish the startup for their unacceptable behaviour. Rap Genius found their results buried underneath a pile of other, more honest websites who offer similar services. Right now the search term “rap genius” will show you a bunch of non-related website, and rapgenius.com is pushed down to the sixth place.

The Consequence

When was the last time you went beyond the 3rd page on google? If you’re anything like majority of internet users, when you don’t find what you’re looking for on the first page, you’re more likely to try a different term than to navigate to the second page.

As a result of that user behaviour, Rap Genius will be struggling to keep their user-base up, as they are practically undiscoverable by new users. Unless they find a way to bounce back in the next few weeks, they are in big trouble.

Why Is Google So Harsh?

Websites and blogs trying to trick search engines is nothing new. Everyday dozens of smaller websites are getting the same punishment as Rap Genius for the same kind of behaviour. I believe Google’s actions are absolutely justified and is a step necessary to make sure their search service stays intact.

Social media has been buzzing about this news for the past few days, and just imagine what kind of impression Google would have left if Rap Genius walked away with just a slap on the writs. Think of all other bloggers who would start getting  similar ideas.

What do you think about google’s actions? Too harsh, too soft or just the right amount? Let me know on twitter .