It took a over a week, but Rap Genius and Google have finally made nice over Rap Genius’ (formerly) sketchy SEO practices.
In a letter to users, Rap Genius founders Mahbad Moghadam, Tom Lehman and Ilan Zechory apologized, saying that, “…we owe a big thanks to Google for being fair and transparent and allowing us back onto their results pages. We overstepped, and we deserved to get smacked.”
The rest of the letter, which is “tl;dr”-worthy, outlined the origins of Rap Genius’ SEO practices, how they became questionable and what the company did to eventually rectify the situation. Essentially, Rap Genius claims because the site initially started off as a lyrics launch point for a community of bloggers–its content handled primarily by those bloggers–it was easy for SEO quid-pro-quo manipulation to occur once Rap Genius became the behemoth it is today.
This was the initial thinking behind their SEO practices:
Bloggers linked to us because their readers were interested in our lyrics and annotations, not just because they wanted to help us. We plugged them because they had good, tweet-worthy blog posts, not just because we appreciated their help with promotion.
Google eventually allowed Rap Genius out of the doghouse once the site scrubbed links that the search engine found problematic and unnatural.
In conclusion, Rap Genius is “sorry for being such morons,” with which AJ will probably agree.