Mountain View, California—Google has officially penalized the lyrics site, Rap Genius for participating in a link scheme. The site’s URL was removed from the search portal’s SERP yesterday, and now all that appears is the site’s Twitter handle, along with its Wikipedia entry, and a slew of news headlines from various sources about said penalty (click the image below to enlarge).
The site has been known to have engaged in practices which violate the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and the search engine’s head of combating webspam, Matt Cutts, acknowledged his team was aware of the situation and was looking into the site’s practices.
Rap Genius Penalized by Google
The lyrics site has long boasted it had a special means for ranking high in organic search. After the penalty, the company’s founders published a statement, which in-part read, “We effed up, 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,” the site’s founders wrote in an apology and explanation blog post.
It goes on to state there are other sites which are also engaging in such practices and defends its content. The site was promoting content provided by its audience and entertainers alike. In return for this content, the site promoted the authors, which violates Google’s linking policies.
Recent Penalties by Google
Early last week, the search engine took action against Backlinks.com, as well as Algo Rank for violating its T.O.S. The search engine’s distinguished engineer, Matt Cutts, also issued a warning when answering a question in a Webmaster Help video about stitching content, saying that such practices are likely to invite trouble.
Cutts has likewise stated it’s a sound SEO practice to leave meta descriptions blank, rather than duplicate them from page to page.