Rap Genius gets reinstated to the top of Google following SEO mess

Posted Jan 4, 2014
Google has removed Rap Genius’ penalty following an SEO scam. Previously, Rap Genius convinced bloggers to link back to their website in exchange for undisclosed ad placement on their Twitter account. Rap Genius e-mailed the bloggers and said that they could request a tweet that says anything and contains a link to anything in exchange for links.
To get back in Google’s good graces, Rap Genius went through a massive link-removal campaign. They put together a list of 178,000 websites that link to Rap Genius and wrote an automated scraper to download each page to figure out if they contained spammy links. If the links were spammy, then Rap Genius contacted the webmaster to remove the link. If webmasters did not remove the link, they plugged in the links into Google’s Disavow tool to prevent them from influencing search rankings.
Rap Genius was able to remove hundreds of inbound links this way. Rap Genius was penalized around 10 days ago. Not a bad turn-around. Rap Genius put together a long blog post about how they prepared to get reinstated. Rap Genius had a lot at stake as they raised $15 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz.