Music Tech

Rap Genius Is Back In Google’s Good Graces But Is That A Good Thing?

Rap-genius-logoWhile some websites penalized for link spam never fully recover, Rap Genius was able to quickly return to Google search results after a recent and quite public penalty. Based on previous accounts, this heightened pace is most likely due to Google's history of privileging big brands as well as emerging brands who have Google's ear. In this case, Rap Genius not only has the cosign of major investors but Rap Genius's founders also seem to have delighted many in Silicon Valley on a more personal level.

Rap Genius previously revealed their nimble response to being caught in a shady situation when they were targeted for unlicensed lyrics and quickly wriggled off the hook.

In the case of Google, it can take months or longer to recover from search engine penalties, especially those associated with spammy links and link schemes. However, soon after being identified as violating Google guidelines, resulting in a dramatic drop in traffic as Rap Genius results were pulled from Google search, Rap Genius was back:

"It takes a few days for things to return to normal, but we’re officially back!"

"First of all, we owe a big thanks to Google for being fair and transparent and allowing us back onto their results pages. We overstepped, and we deserved to get smacked."

According to Josh Constine at TechCrunch, this return showed that all is well with Google and Rap Genius:

"Google apparently cares more about giving the best search results than punishing spammers, as it’s returning lyrics site Rap Genius to its high rankings for searches after it was exiled for SEO spam 10 days ago."

"In the end, Google is putting its users first. Though Rap Genius’ tactics may have been deplorable, they provide a much better lyrics site experience than most of their competitors."

"Google could have kept Rap Genius in a search ranking dungeon, but it would have just pushed its users to visit worse sites, and that just doesn’t jive with Google’s mission 'to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.'"

If you're thinking this sounds like a tech bro circle jerk in action, then you're right.

But, more importantly, if you want to understand why this move by Google is out of the ordinary and shows that they privilege certain sites, then read Aaron Wall's take.

This game really is fixed.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/Facebook) is building a writing hub at Flux Research. To suggest topics about music tech, DIY music biz or music marketing for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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