Robert_Charlton - 10:31 pm on Jun 12, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: tedster at 12:04 pm (utc) on Jun 15, 2010]
If I ask for "X" and it gives me "Y", but then I ask for "Y" and it switches to "X", that is clearly not ignoring that relevancy signal, it is using it to EVADE.
aspdesigner - Agreed that "ignore" is the wrong word. For me, "reject" might be a better choice than "evade"... as "reject" would suggest the step in the process that I'm talking about, whereas "evade" might describe the whole process. I considered using the word "filter" when I wrote that up.
In any event, I feel that certain sets of conditions appear to be triggering a filter that drops the page from consideration for a given search... "de-valuing" as you've called it... and replacing them with best matches from pages left unfiltered, which might include synonym matches.
Acknowledged, again... when the results are bad, they're sometimes very bad, as they don't seem to degrade in the ways we've previously expected. I'm seeing lots of extremely good serps now, though, where all the traditional optimizing factors appear to be in place and working, not "evaded".
On the rest, Google may inevitably make some adjustments, and we also will make some adjustments. I'm thinking that the information we can gather now, about what trips the filter apart from traditional optimization, will be helpful to strengthen our own sites.
In cases where there are assumed known good pages that aren't being shown and the results are substandard... I'm not convinced what we're seeing is as simple as the algo just rejecting a title match, though it may end up looking like that's what's happening. The algo is rejecting something else, or a combination of something elses. Those factors, IMO, are what are important to identify. Apart from all of those white hat seo title matches that we're seeing, which suggest that Google isn't routinely rejecting title matches, we've also had pages with exact title matches outranked by pages without such matches for a long time.
There are of course also likely to be off-page factors, like patterns of external inbound anchor text, which are probably interacting with the title element and onpage text differently than they were before.
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[edited by: tedster at 12:04 pm (utc) on Jun 15, 2010]