Google started out with a focus: keywords. Then, a few years on when others were doing the same thing, expanded that focus to keyword and short tail, rising back to the top again. Then a few years later to keyword phrase and long tail etc etc etc. We can see a change over the last 10 years.
I'm not sure how many ways they can continue to parse it... at some point it will break (and I think we are getting there now).
Reality is there's only so many ways one can describe "blue widget", or what one can do with, or to, that widget. Commercial sites are hit worse, my opinion, than information sites. At some point "it" is what "it" is and doing more than that makes one look comical. And that might result in a listing hit. Sad thing is we're not looking at the forest anymore, google has made it imperative that we are looking at not only the trees, but one tree in particular, and that is the third branch up, facing east, with moss on the north side of that branch.