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Don’t be a Disaster Like RapGenius!

December 31, 2013

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rapgenius seo disaster
Search Engine Optimization has changed manifolds, since 2010. With Google pushing in so many changes to algorithms and with all the pandas and the penguins stealing most of the highlight, pretty much every other website had to spend sleepless nights and countless days to get their website back in shape so that the Search Engine Gods (read it as Google), is impressed.

And just like in every other colossal and epic change which kills the evil and takes a few good and innocent along with it, the changes, as Google unleashed its cute little animals with a “license to kill”, took along with it a lot of good but innocent websites as well. Though there were promises that things should be back in shape after a short shake-up, that happened only partially and I have my own reasons to say that.

If you think this is a post to vent out my frustration on Google then this is not..

I just wanted to show you the impact that Blackhat SEO methods have on search engine rankings. The site in question here is a very well know site that rose to fame  very quickly – RapGenius..

The RapGenius Story

For people who don’t know about RapGenius, it started in 2009 and became a hot news topic when it received a massive investment of $15 million, led by Andreessen Horowitz in late 2012. If you wondering as to how they managed to do that, then let me clarify that it is not the first one to do that and hence it is not surprise.

But what is surprising is that this was a simple website that posted lyrics for rap songs. People could also submit their version of the lyrics and what it meant. Hence, I assume I will not be wrong in categorizing this website as a Social Media site because of the user interactions involved.

The RapGenius SEO Disaster

RapGenius was in the news again about a week back but this time for all the wrong reasons. While the founders of the site were extremely bad-mouthed (read the news about what they told Mark Zuckerberg), nobody knew what the website was doing to gain the consistent 1st page rankings on Google. In fact the website was the 1st in search results for a number of generic searches as well.

All this until a few weeks back when John Marbach, the founder for email filtering application Glider, checked in about the details of a blog affiliate program that RapGenius had published. Mahbod from RapGenius replied and the details of the conversation was published in this blog post here.

What this involved was an un-acceptable way of building backlinks to their website and posts, which in turn would have made Google think high of them and would hence rank them on the 1st page of Google for all of those keyword terms.

After Marbach published the post on his blog, Google sprung into action and removed all of RapGenius links from their search engine results. Woah… that’s what you call authority (did I mis-spell that.. I meant MONOPOLY)

The Bottomline

Now, there could be a lot of different opinions rather, questions to this. Mine were –

  • If RapGenius was doing this all the while, then why did Google not detect it earlier. I assume they should have been able to do that with all the Pandas and the Penguins in place..
  • What about linking from similar or, related websites? Doesn’t really look like it is that important anymore because the links that RapGenius built were not necessarily from related websites.
  • If Marbach had not exposed RapGenius, they would still have been enjoying the 1st page rankings. It means there could be many other such websites following a similar method and still ranking on the 1st page of Google because nobody has yet exposed them.

Having said all of this, I will still advise you all, not to take the RapGenius route. Ethical link building is the best way to build links to your websites. Follow ethical Practises..

Wishing you all a very Happy New 2014.

About the author

My name is Dilip. I am a fan of the internet and love the many opportunities that the world wide web provides. If used constructively , the internet can give you an opportunity to lead a life free of the 9-5 treadmill and will be able to give more time to your family members.
Read about internet entrepreneurship at my blog.

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