The tech giant disciplines the ‘hip-hop Wikipedia’ due to what they consider manipulative SEO practices.
Google decided to remove Rap Genius from it’s top search results after finding out that the music lyrics website was employing some questionable practices in order to get more visits. According to Pitchfork and the Los Angeles Times, Rap Genius “was offering bloggers exposure through its social media accounts in exchange for links to its website on their music blogs”. Google takes into account many factors in order to determine its search rankings and one of these is how many pages link to each website. By trading exposure with bloggers through Facebook, the lyrics site was taking things into their own hands, something Google didn’t found appropriate and went against the search engine’s guidelines.
Since then, Rap Genius expressed its regret on an “Open Letter to Google” which explains their SEO strategies and communicated its desire to “do whatever it takes to learn [Google’s rules] inside out and comply with them.”. On the letter they also revealed that other music lyric sites practice the same types of strategies.
Actions are already being taken by the website as they posted “we’re going to be requesting that site owners take down links to Rap Genius that don’t fit well with their editorial content”.
According to their own definition, Rap Genius is a place were “users and artists themselves explore lyrics interactively via line-by-line annotations that they can read, create, and edit.”; the website not only lets you read/write lyrics, it gives explanation and definition of songs, verses, sentences, words, etc.
We’ll see where it goes from now, but there isn’t much silver lining Rap Genius can look forward to. Being condemned by Google is every website’s nightmare and it will probably take a lot of effort from the ‘hip-hop Wikipedia’ to get back on track.