The website Rap Genius, which posts annotated lyrics to songs, got caught early this week engaging in spammy SEO tactics to increase their web traffic.
The "Google punishes company for SEO hijinks" is a genre of story you used to see a lot of, but they've become rarer. One reason for that is that many of the most popular websites now focus on traffic from social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Music lyric sites are an exception to that rule -- you’re likely to visit them through Google (“what are the words to baby its cold outside”) than through, say Facebook (“Guys check out the terrible lyrics to this song I just posted.” ).
But the other reason you see less stories about people gaming Google is that Google's wrath is legend.
For instance, today, when, following Google’s decision to knock Rap Genius way down in its search results, traffic at the site is down sixty percent, from 1.2 million daily unique visits to 493,000.
Google is reportedly working toward a resolution with Rap Genius, so their time in purgatory will likely end.
Also, if you find this stuff as interesting as I do, OTM did an interview with Google’s Matt Cutts awhile back. Cutts is a Google engineer who helps the decision about what people are and aren’t allowed to do in pursuit of better search rankings.