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Google Downranks Rap Genius For Manipulation

Posted 12/27/2013 9:30 am by
The founders of Rap Genius at TechCrunch.

The founders of Rap Genius at TechCrunch.

Everyone wants to improve their Google ranking, and the very best way to do that is via making great stuff and having people link to it.  The more great stuff you link to, the better off you are.  The more people link back to you, the better off you are.  It’s a graceful, elegant dance of finding fun things and sharing them, or creating fun things and showcasing them, so that you’ll show up in meaningful Google searches.  Google can be an awesome partner or a cruel master, if you try to circumvent the system.  Rap Genius has been downranked by Google for gaming the system; downranking is Google’s punishment for manipulating the system for ill-gotten gains in web traffic.

Apparently, the three gentlemen behind Rap Genius, Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory, and Mahbod Moghadam, were involved in a sharing “scam” in which they would promote user posts on their Twitter and Facebook feed in exchange for backlinks to Rap Genius content on those websites, specifically posts about Justin Bieber lyrics.  The crucial part of the matter, and where Rap Genius went wrong, is that the links they pushed weren’t links that were naturally related to the discussion topic, and what’s where the site got into trouble with Google’s Webspam team.  Mahbod Moghadam contacted blogger John Marbach and dangled the Google-banned carrot, and when Marbach posted about it, it captured Google’s attention and bingo, RapGenius.com has now been downranked to oblivion.

To their credit, Moghadam, Zechory, and Lehman have already apologized to Google and pledged to end the scam; to go further, they’ve also pointed out where every other major lyrics website does illicit activities to get Google rank improvements and they have asked to work with Google to improve lyric search results as a whole.  Here’s hoping that by pointing out the flaws in the system, everyone involved can improve it for the greater good (especially since Rap Genius has such a great idea for a site).

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