Lapizuli - 5:50 am on Mar 4, 2011 (gmt 0)
You really think that it was simply the cleaner aesthetic? That's it? That's the secret, enough to top my 100 comments, brand poll, links to authoritative sites, and personal anecdotes? That's not consistent with a couple of the sites I looked at on the Google report-your-unfairly-demoted-site-here page. Many looked horrendous, but some looked actually quite nice and were not over-complicated.
As for flaws, I guess I wasn't clear. Naturally, any page can be made more useful - I have yet to see a page anywhere that can't. But right now it's probably the most useful single page on the topic. Site 3 was older, though, and offers value, so I bow to their seniority. But another site for that query that IS an authority .org site, predates mine, and touches briefly on the topic, and that used to be on page one, has moved to, like, page three, which seems crazy to me.
So what I'm saying is that my page isn't perfect, but Google isn't looking for perfect, but the best results for the query. And if site cleanliness ALONE outweighs content to that degree, then that would be more naive than I think Google is.