Rap Genius Loses 80% Search Traffic From Google’s Penalty

Rap Genius versus Google SEORap Genius SEO vs. Google

So whatever happened with that Google vs. Rap Genius SEO scandal? If you need to catch up on the story read this first, then this, and then the open letter to Google from Rap Genius co-founders. Great reads.

To sum up quickly, as an early Christmas present, Rap Genius found themselves hit with, the penalty to end all penalties, from Google. That’s right, black-hat SEOs beware.

As Search Engine Journal said, Google reports that Rap Genius was “outed for a black-hat link building scheme”.

The website was looking for bloggers to publish links with keyword rich anchor text in exchange for tweeting out a link to the bloggers’ websites.”

What is this 2005? I mean do people still try these underhanded tactics to drive traffic and boost search engine rankings? Apparently so. But now, with this latest move, Google has cemented the fact that the year 2013 changed SEO forever.

If you’ve hired an SEO consultant or you are an SEO expert who’s using these archaic black-hat SEO tactics, your websites will be punished by Google and will not only significantly lose website rankings but your website will essentially disappear from search results.

What Happened To Rap Genius Web Rankings?

It turns out that even after publishing their open letter and public apology to Google and the world, that wasn’t enough to save them from the wrath of the internet behemoth that is Google. SEJ reports that Rap Genius was “still hit with a manual penalty for violating Google’s Webmaster Guidelines by trying to artificially boost their rankings.”

“Rap Genius’ penalty buried every one of their pages deep beyond the first page of Google’s search results, no matter what keyword was being searched. Even searching for the name “Rap Genius” won’t bring up their domain on the first page, just their Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Needless to say, this has had a profound impact on their search traffic. Quantcast shows nearly an 80% drop since the spam penalty went into effect:”

rap genius website traffic penalty and decline

An 80% drop in search traffic. That’s just ridiculous. But, clearly it’s the price you pay if you fail to follow Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. As we all know, SEO changes almost daily, but this past year SEO has changed for good.

In fact it’s changed in so many different ways – all relating to regular, quality content creation, sharing and resharing through social media networks, including Google+ (!!).

You should also be executing appropriate social media optimization (SMO) before you share that content, and of course maintain your website’s on page SEO by formulating strategies using short and long tail keyword research, and implementing the necessary tactics to reach your goals.

Now that we know how this Rap Genius SEO scandal has played out, we can only wait and see if Google will eventually lift the penalty or keep it in place for…how long? Forever? What could be more likely is that Google may start investigating the allegations made by Rap Genius co founders. To read more about that, I’d encourage you to read their open letter to Google.

I found this story fascinating and most certainly interesting. It was an exciting scandal in the SEO world near the end of a crazy year in SEO.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this Rap Genius SEO scandal. Please sound off in the comments below.