Lyric annotation and interpretation site Rap Genius has seen its rankings within Google's SERPs (search engine results pages) return after it was punished for using spammy SEO tactics over the Christmas break.
The site, which has been backed by investment of around $16.8 million, has built up a reputation amongst hip-hop fans as a forum to discuss the meaning behind lyrics. It lost up to 80 per cent of the daily traffic it would typically receive as a result of the punishment.
Rap Genius was originally investigated after entrepreneur John Marbach blogged about an email he'd received from the site asking him to publish a series of links to lyrics by popstar, Justin Bieber, in a blog post in exchange for what was described as 'MASSIVE traffic,' and exposure in the form of a tweet directing to the post.
Referred to as a search growth hack, this tactic would capitalise on the fact that the Canadian singer and his songs are amongst some of the most popularly searched terms on Google. With a series of backlinks, at the bottom of any blog post, with anchor text featuring the song titles and the artist's name, the site could rank more highly on what are expected to continue to be popular search terms in 2014, and thus attract more visitors to the site.
Google quickly moved in to investigate the activity, which it's against, and quickly dealt out the severe punishment.
The founders of the site were quick to respond, admitting they'd made a mistake.
In a blog post published on the site's news section, Rap Genius stated that some of the tactics it had recently adopted were "more or less totally debauched."
The Rap Genius Founders wrote: "We owe a big thanks to Google for being fair and transparent about allowing us back onto their results pages. We overstepped and we deserved to get smacked."
It then went on to reveal that all the unnatural links had been removed, which had helped it to regain its rankings within Google.
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