potentialgeek - 5:01 am on Nov 1, 2011 (gmt 0)
I went back and looked at the data.
June 14-21 is the time when one sector I'm in got a Vince update. That's when Google decided one of my sites is an authority and very trustworthy. Since that week, it started to give me very high rankings for widgets, just below wiki and another major site.
At the same time it also centralized authority for multiple examples of the most popular related phrases with widgets. The site had not been updated in any way; there was no related marketing campaign (links, etc.). No effort whatsoever on SEO.
It's the same kind of situation I saw with the different sector I mentioned where two websites got authority status, and then got top rankings for related keyword phrases.
The interesting thing in the case of the June Vince Update is the site went from being Pandalized to becoming an authority fairly quickly. From mid-April to mid-June it was in the tank (presumably Pandalized on April 11).
What I previously thought was a recovery from Panda I'm now convinced was a Vince update because of the new authority and ranking for related phrases.
It reminds me of how things were a few years ago, when, once you became an authority on widgets, you could write about anything related to widgets and rank really well (first page) for those phrases.
Also, you may recall in the days of the -950 penalty, how sites could recover from changes (mine) or simply by getting a new link from an authority site (others).
Ironically, I still don't know why my site which is now considered an authority by Google gets the new elite status. If I did, maybe I could get several of my Pandalized sites out of the pit!