According to SearchEngineLand.com, Google’s head of search spam, Matt Cutts, has chosen to remove the lyrics-dedicated website RapGenius.com from being included on the first page of Google when a search is performed.
Google’s decision to do so comes shortly after writer John Marbach discovered that those at Rap Genius were using a link scheme disguised as an “affiliate” program to alter their rankings on Google, specifically Rap Genius lyric pages to songs off of Justin Bieber’s newly-released album, Journals.
“However, music is highly cyclical, and the traffic from previous winners will eventually fade,” says Marbach in his story. “Looking forward into 2014, it’s only logical that Rap Genius would hope for Bieber’s new songs to refer them enormous traffic.”
Following Google’s move to remove Rap Genius from the first page of Google, the founders of Rap Genius issued an apology in the form of an open letter titled, “Open Letter to Google About Rap Genius SEO.”
In the open letter, they revealed they “effed up” and also called out their competitors for “suspicious backlinks.”
“We effed up, other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop,” read the letter. “We’d love for Google to take a closer look at the whole lyrics search landscape and see whether it can make changes that would improve lyric search results.”
It is currently unclear if Google has any plans on eventually removing their penalty on Rap Genius.
Created in 2009, Rap Genius is a site whose purpose is to serve as “your guide to the meaning of rap, R&B, and soul lyrics.” The site made headlines last year when it was revealed that venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million into Rap Genius.