Shalom Life | June 05, 2014

Google Squashes Rap Genius 'Scheme'

"We effed up" says the founders of the popular annotation site after Google discovered it was running a backlink scheme to improve SEO

By: Daniel Koren

Published: December 27th, 2013 in Business » World

Weeks ago, Billboard published an article entitled: "How Rap Genius Won the SEO Game".

It seems that they now may have to retract that story.

Earlier this week, Google discovered that Rap Genius was garnering successful results at search engine optimization - if you typed in the lyrics to any rap song, chances were rap genius would appear first - not because of its excellent technologies and millions of loyal fans; no, it appears the three dudes behind our beloved site were actually running a backlink scheme.

Tech expert John Marbach outlines how the scheme works exactly in a blog post from earlier this week; apparently bloggers were encouraged to insert backlinks to lyrics on Rap Genius for the new Justin Bieber album: Journals. Rap Genius promised to these bloggers that, in exchange, they would tweet a link containing these links, which optimizes SEO for all parties involved.

Google, however, looks down on such behavior as, besides being a tad unfair, leading to poor results for people using the search engine platform.

"We effed up," wrote Rap Genius founders Ilan Zechory, Mahbod Moghadam (check out our exclusive interview with Moghadam here), and Tom Lehman, saying "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."

Marbach first got hint of something suspicious going down at Rap Genius after Moghadam posted an invitation on Facebook to all bloggers who wanted to become "Rap Genius affiliates." After several responses, Moghadam added that "If you have a dope post that you would like us to tweet out -- get you MASSIVE traffic -- then put this html (below) at the bottom of the post and send me the URL along with the EXACT text you want tweeted. I will send that shit out it will bloooowwwww up!"

Google has since 'pulled the plug' on Rap Genius, and they've been experiencing a massive slump. If you want to help their numbers, visit the site here, and check out the lyrics to your favourite songs.

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