dvduval: On page changes have zero effect even after waiting 2-3 months. This includes changing the title tag to the exact phrase we most represent
tedster: I've notice recently that exact phrase match in the title does not seem to work well. It does work if you put quotes around the query phrase, but clearly only geeks do that.
MrFewkes: Exact phrases in the title tag are (imho) a no no on longer phrases - say 4 or 5 words - if the competition is high. Now thats kind of a guess just browsing the serps. If you search a long string with quotes (a popular one) then get a feel for how many titles show in the serp - and compare that to a search without quotes for the same string you will generally not see very many of those full strings in there for high volume searches where normal distribution dictates a proportionally high volume of pages aswell (generally).
If however theres a high volume of searches but a low number of pages - quite rare - you may see the longer exact match strings in the serp without quotes.
I dont know the science behind this.
Indeed - I don't know the science behind this either. It does seem that Google's "fuzzy logic" has taken its toll here, and certainly exact text matching is long gone as an information retrieval approach.
In fact, even keyword proximity seems to be a minimal factor today, if it hasn't already gone extinct with its cousin, keyword density.
This seems to be directly in the area where seasoned search users have the most frustration with Google recently. The casual Google user, on the other hand, seems quite content for the most part - and there are a LOT more casual searches than seasoned searchers. That's who Google most wants to please.
So what factors do you think Google IS using (instead of keyword proximity) to generate those SERPs for non-quoted phrases?