@tedster, would you advise webmasters to NOT update their title tags to reflect, for example, all of the relevant long tail phrases that Google's Analytics/WMT show you after launching a certain page and giving it a few months to receive relevant organic traffic?
I guess I just don't understand why Google encourages us to use all of these great analytic tools to improve our website's user experience, but could then directly punish us for using these same tools and the information given to us, all based upon guessing our "intent" when we make these changes? How does that even work...
For example, say you launch a page about "about red hair cats". Your title tag is "about red hair cats". You check your Google analytics/webmaster tools and see that specific page is getting the most organic traffic for "deaf red hair cats" and "red hair cats that are deaf", "red hair cat can't hear", "red hair cats hearing loss" etc.
You notice the search phrases: "deaf red hair cats" and "red hair cats that are deaf" are bringing in about 5 times as many visitors as any other longtail search terms, and then you see that your page is ranking somewhere on the second page of Google for both search phrases.
So you fire up the Google Adwords Keyword tool/search tool/etc just to get an idea of the type of the organic search volume you could expect for "deaf red hair cats". To your amazement "deaf red hair cats" gets over 10,000 [exact match] searches. All of your other long tail phrases seen within Google Analytics and WMT that are bringing in organic traffic where you are currently ranking, only typically show about 1,000 [exact match] search results or much less.
Should webmasters in a situation like this (on a larger scale like making hundreds to thousands of these types of "optimization" changes to title tags pages as OP's example)...should they start thinking about NOT doing this for fear of triggering some type of over-optimization penalty (that many folks report never report recovering from)?
IMO, using GA and WMT information in this type of way would be catering directly to your users, as Googlebot is telling us with their tools that our page is highly relevant for these types of search phrases. But maybe if that phrase you update your titles tags as passes a certain search volume theshold, then you are "over" doing it perhaps and no longer have the "relative" best content? Where is this imaginary line they keep drawing and ENCOURAGING us to jump over with all of the increased data through these tools and platforms they are providing webmasters? Yikes...I don't know what to think anymore really.