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Google Downgrades "Rap Genius" Lyrics Website From Search Results Over SEO Concerns

Searchers will have to settle for pop-up ads for cellphone ring tones

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Rap Genius has been removed from Google's top search results as a result of what Google views as manipulative SEO practices. The Los Angeles Times reports that "Google took down Rap Genius after it was revealed that the lyrics website, which received $15 million in funding from [venture capital firm] Andreessen Horowitz last year, was offering bloggers exposure through its social media accounts in exchange for links to its website on their music blogs." (This news follows Rap Genius' licensing agreement with Sony/ATV Music Publishingfollowing a take down notice from the National Music Publishers' Association this past November.)

Responding to Google's actions, the lyrics website has published an "Open Letter to Google About Rap Genius SEO" where they explain their SEO strategy and say that they have "never bought or sold links" and "don't tweet out weak content," but do admit that they "messed up" when it came to Google's linking policy where it states "creating links that weren't editorially placed or vouched for by the site's owner on a page, otherwise known as unnatural links, can be considered a violation of our guidelines."