The not so ingenious drop in SEO visibility of rapgenius.com (Update)

December 28th, 2013 | Analysis 18 comments

SEO Visibility drop of rapgenius.com

As Barry from searchengineland.com (http://searchengineland.com/google-has-officially-penalized-rap-genius-for-link-schemes-180777) and others wrote on December 25th, rapgenius.com (a service that lets users look up song lyrics and discuss their meaning) officially got penalized from Google. In a tweet on December 24th Matt Cutts revealed Google was looking after RapGenius shady linkbuilding methods and bingo – a day later the site has gone.

Update January 12th: Partially recovery of rapgenius.com

As Danny Sullivan in Searchengineland mentioned, Rap Genius is back in the SERPs after 10 days. But not with full visibility. Right now they have about 71% of the former SEO visibility. I assume that many links that counted before were devalued, disavowed or deleted. It looks like the Interflora penalty and comeback. Fast recovery, but at a level of around 3/4 of the former SEO visibility. Check out rapgenius.com SEO visibility here: http://suite.searchmetrics.com/en/research/domains/organic?url=rapgenius.com&cc=US

rapgenius-partially-recovery———————————————————-

Tweet Matt Cutts about rapgenius.com

The dimensions of the penalty have not been published by any other blog yet. So I thought it makes sense to do some analysis and post screenshots of the current SEO visibility of rapgenius.com. To be honest I wouldn’t like to be in their shoes now. It’s not just a small penalty of a penalty on a URL level. They lost nearly all their visibility. The drop was 92% according to the analysis!

They still have some rankings, but overall their SEO visibility has dropped to a level they had in January 2012. I won’t comment what they did. There a lot information shared about using their affiliates to place links to rapgenius.com and in exchange the affiliates or bloggers got promoted by RapGenius. More background about the story: Google banished RapGenius. But whatever they did, their former SEO visibility was awesome. They were within the Top100 best ranking sites in the US, and that’s within 2 years. This is an incredible growth.

They lost on nearly all their important lyrics keywords

If you check the list of loser rankings you see that there is no pattern in the drop. Many strong keywords dropped into the nirvana, some to page 4 or 5. And it’s obvious too that this isn’t a drop on a URL level. It is a drop on the whole domain. For me it seems that Google mainly devalued the site’s incoming links and additionally gave them a keyword penalty for the anchor texts of the incoming links. Or just devalued all keyword links and everything where “rap genius” or similar was in the anchor text.

Loser Rankings 1 of rapgenius.com

Loser Rankings 2 of rapgenius.com

Loser Rankings 3 of rapgenius.com

If I were rapgenius.com I would definitely check my link building strategy and make a list of all links I forced to be placed. Then I would reach out to Google and tell them what I did. Possibly Google just devalued too many links (overreacted). If not RapGenius should remove all these links and if that isn’t possible there is still the Disavow option. After the cleanup they should make a reconsideration request.

I will check out the SEO visibility weekly and inform you when there is a significant change. You can also check out the SEO visibility of rapgenius.com: http://suite.searchmetrics.com/en/research/domains/organic?url=rapgenius.com&cc=US

If you need the SEO Visibility on the go, download our mobile app: http://www.searchmetrics.com/en/seo-link-analyzer-app/

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Who’s writing this stuff? My name is Marcus Tober and I’m the founder of Searchmetrics. Because we really love to analyze every kind of online data, we can give you more insights than any other company in SEO, SEM and Social Media. It’s not a job, it’s passion. You can find me also on Google+ .
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Comments (8)

Comments (18)

  1. 2014/01/02

    I think they lost more than half their daily visitors.

    I remember looking at their Alexa Rank page the day the news came out or the next day and I noticed they have verified Alexa data (they installed Alexa Tracking script on their website) and the Daily Unique Visitors were around 1,100,000 Visitors. Today it shows 414,000 Visitors.

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/rapgenius.com

  2. 2014/01/09

    It is great idea and different tips in SEO. They strong have some rankings and overall their SEO visibility has dropped to a level. I won’t comment what they did. I will check out the SEO visibility weekly and inform you when there is a significant change.
    Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!!!

  3. 2014/04/08

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content.
    Your article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to take a
    note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once per week.
    I opted in for your RSS feed too.

  4. 2014/04/12

    Excellent post. I was checking constantly this weblog and I’m impressed!

    Very helpful information specially the ultimate section
    :) I deal with such information a lot. I used to
    be looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

  5. 2014/05/23

    Amazing! Google penalties are for everyone, big and small sites.

  6. 2015/12/19

    Hurrah! Finally I got a webpage from where I know how to in fact obtain useful facts concerning
    my study and knowledge.

  7. 2016/01/10

    Hello I am so happy I found your web site, I really found you by mistake, while I waas searching
    on Bing for something else, Nonetheless I
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  8. 2016/02/27

    hello great blog I’m a huge bingo fan from Scotland

Trackbacks (10)

Comments (18)

  1. 2013/12/30

    […] from Search Metrics published the impact this Google penalty had on their search visibility in Google. Marcus noted that there […]

  2. 2013/12/30

    […] from Search Metrics published the impact this Google penalty had on their search visibility in Google. Marcus noted that there […]

  3. 2014/01/04

    […] analyzed some of the terms sending Rap Genius traffic that it took hits for, as well as the overall drop in […]

  4. 2014/01/04

    […] analyzed some of the terms sending Rap Genius traffic that it took hits for, as well as the overall drop in […]

  5. 2014/01/06

    […] analyzed some of the terms sending Rap Genius traffic that it took hits for, as well as the overall drop in […]

  6. 2014/01/07

    […] SearchMetrics a analysé certains termes pour lesquels Rap Genius gagne un trafic important et a remarqué que tous les mots clés n’ont pas recouvert leurs positions (même s’il faudra encore certainement attendre un jour ou deux pour confirmer ces analyses). […]

  7. 2014/01/13

    […] a sua antiga visibilidade total, nomeadamente no que diz respeito às palavras-chave anexadas. SearchMetrics a analisou certos termos para os quais Rap Genius ganha tráfego importante e reparou que todas as palavras […]

  8. 2014/03/10

    […] an apology. The penalty was incredibly harsh. Rap Genius did not even rank for its own name, and practically dropped off the face of the earth as far as Google was […]

  9. 2014/09/09

    […] Rap Genius è stato penalizzato il giorno di Natale, anche aveva già capito di averla combinata grossa e chiesto scusa. La penalizzazione è stata incredibilmente dura: Rap Genius non compariva in SERP neppure per il suo nome, praticamente cancellato dalla faccia della terra. […]

  10. 2014/12/14

    […] dat je als (grote) adverteerder of naam wordt gematst. Niks daarvan. Zelfs grote namen als de BBC, RapGenius en Interflora werden niet […]

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