Rap Genius' Link Scheme Goes Public Leading To Google Penalty

Dec 26, 2013 • 8:56 am | comments (13) by | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Rap Genius LogoJohn Marbach outed Rap Genius for masking a link building scheme as an affiliate program. Right before Christmas, Matt Cutts posted first on Hacker News and then on Twitter that Google is looking into it. A day later, Rap Genius was penalized by Google and no longer ranks top for their own name.

That is the long story in a few sentences.

The Facebook post that lead to this was pulled down, but it read this:


John Marbach then reached out and documented what Rap Genius was looking for, which was keyword rich anchor text links on related blog posts. This was in exchange for tweeting about the blog post, resulting in a lot of traffic to the bloggers site. So not in exchange for direct payment, but in exchange for publicity.

Here is that email:

Rap Genius Link Scheme email

Then we saw Matt post on Hacker News and then on Twitter:

Then a day later, Rap Genius was penalized:


The next question is for how long? A week, 11-days, a month, 3 months? That I guess depends on the reconsideration request and if Rap Genius was able to pull down much of the links acquired through these and other link schemes. It also depends on if Google found anything else wrong with the site.

My guess, a month. :)

Forum discussion at Hacker News and then on Twitter.

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