Feeds

Lyrics upstart Rap Genius blacklisted by Google for Justin Bieber SEO scam

No search results for you

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Online lyrics site Rap Genius has been slapped down by Google after admitting trying to boost its search rankings by exchanging promotional tweets for hyperlinks from bloggers.

On December 23, the lyrics site posted on Facebook that it was beginning a "Rap Genius blog affiliate" program. Blogger John Marbach got in touch and was told the site would promote his blog with a preapproved message as long as he embedded links to Justin Bieber lyrics in his blog posts.

The aim was to build up a series of hyperlinks that would make sure that when teenage girls searched for the deep meaning in the androgynous Canadian pop star's lyrics, the number of hyperlinks out there would mean Rap Genius would be the first result shown.

Marbach made the email public and it caught the eye of Google staffers, who immediately began looking into the lyrics site's less-than-genius plan. As a result, the site has now been banished from Google search rankings and has suffered a catastrophic loss of readership.

In a mea culpa statement, Rap Genius' founders said that they had thought the promotional plans didn't breach Google's terms and conditions and that such quid-pro-quo arrangements were only for blogs that posted relevant articles. They also denied abusing keyword-rich anchor text links.

"We effed up," they said in a statement, adding, "other lyrics sites are almost definitely doing worse stuff, and we’ll stop. 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."

The company's founders also included links to other lyrics sites that they claim also breach Google's terms and conditions. The Chocolate Factory is no doubt examining these to see if there are more websites it needs to ban. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.