One site that was banned by Google is back in the search giant's good graces.
Lyrics site Rap Genius tried to manipulate the way it turned up in Google search results by soliciting bloggers to link to its pages in exchange for exposure via Rap Genius' social media channels. Not a fan of paying or bartering for backlinks, Google punished the site by removing it from its search results altogether.
The result? Traffic to the Rap Genius site nosedived.
But now, Rap Genius co-founder Ilan Zechory tells us the site has returned to Google's search results. "It takes a couple days for Google to re-index everything, so search results are a little wonky right now, but we are officially reinstated," Zechory said in an email.
Somewhat ironically, Zechory served as a project manager at Google for two years prior to founding Rap Genius in 2009.
Related: The Stupid Way Rap Genius Got Burned by Google
In a detailed blog post, the Rap Genius team explained how it landed in hot water and the steps it took to get back on Google. Rap Genius says Google banned the site due to unnatural links -- “a pattern of unnatural artificial, deceptive, or manipulative links pointing to your site.”
The Rap Genius team manually examined each of the site's thousands of URLs and categorized each one based on whether it contained unnatural links. Then they started emailing bloggers and asking them to take down links that were deemed unnatural.
"To Google and our fans: we’re sorry for being such morons," the Rap Genius post reads. "We regret our foray into irrelevant unnatural linking. We’re focused on building the best site in the world for understanding lyrics, poetry, and prose and watching it naturally rise to the top of the search results."
Related: Why the Rap Genius Story Is Really About Google