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Looks like one of the hottest startups in the valley will eventually get slapped by Google thanks to their SEO strategy and one of their founders. Their open letter looks desperate and whoever advised them to publish it needs PR training.

This is a quick post and not an in-depth analysis of Rap Genius’s SEO strategy but I thought I should share some data/stats that the tech community might find interesting. I am using two different data sources, MajesticSEO and Ahrefs.

Referring IPs

The vast majority of Rap Genius’s back links originate from similar subnet/IPs, this usually indicates that the referring domains are probably owned by the same entity. Large number of links originating from similar IPs is usually the hallmark of link schemes. Link schemes and link networks are pretty old school and blackhat methods of link building.

Referring IP Backlinks Nofollow 8210 0 2341 0 1556 0 286 0 197 0 89 0 83 0 80 0 78 76 74 74 63 0 63 0 49 0 43 0 42 0 40 0 39 0 32 0 31 0

Referring Domains

Rap Genius seems to have a lot of site-wide links. In most cases, site-wide links are not editorial links which means that sites are paid to place the link(s). The following graph highlights top four domains that link to Rap Genius. Similar to the IPs above, this again indicates unnatural SEO activity. The data for this graph was sourced from Ahrefs,

referring domains pie chart

This is probably the most low quality site that links to Rap Genius. MajesticSEO indicates over 25,000 links from to These are clearly unnatural links, here is an example of mass linking from this site:

Social Metrics Report

I have also created a report on Social Crawlytics which you can access at (Twitter login required). Please bear in mind that you would need export the data to de-dupe some of the rows.


When I thought about writing this post, I imagined that it would take me a couple of hours to unearth their dirt, but within 10 minutes things were very clear. Rap Genius’s SEO strategy is hideous and I suspect they will get slapped by Google very soon.