The recent removal of popular music site Rap Genius from Google, reinforces the need to abide by Google’s rules. The penalisation of this site reminds us that Google punishes sites that don’t exercise legitmate ways of link building and rewards those which respect their target audience and demonstrate good SEO practice. At the Search Marketing Group, we want to highlight Rap Genius as an example of the importance of good SEO practice and the consequences of failing to implement them.
So where did they go wrong? The action taken by Google took place after the discovery of an “affiliate program” Rap Genius had implemented in order to generate links pointing to their website. They used a link scheme by which they asked for a “tweet in exchange for anchor text” on blogging sites. So a blogging site would use specific key word rich anchor text to the lyrics of very specific songs by very specific artists in order to direct traffic to Rap Genius in return for a retweet of this blog.
Why is this a no go in the SEO world? A Search Marketing Company like ourselves can identify when sites are manipulating the use of link building in the sole aim of improving their Google search rankings. If the site had alternatively used a “click here” link in the blog to direct to their site, this would transform the illegitmate link building scheme into a useful and powerful way of promoting content. After all, the “click here” link would have generated traffic without screaming out to Google that the link scheme is designed to influence Google search rankings only.
Our Search Marketing Company can also identify the careless nature of the link building carried out by Rap Genius. As their retweets of blogs were solely for the purposes of increasing search rankings, they failed to take into account their target audience which would be a legitimate way of builing links.Instead, they retweeted sites that were low quality and that weren’t relevant to their audience. This is a clear example of how Rap Genius wasn’t motivated by delivering quality and relevant content to their audience.