Adi78 - 8:36 pm on Jan 20, 2013 (gmt 0)
I had over a dozen pages ranked in the top 3 positions for very competitive key phrases. I knew I had great content because people loved it, they read it a lot and gave lots of positive feedback. I also never attempted to game the system or stuff keywords.
Then, one by one, every single page went from positions 1,2 or 3 to position 200 or lower. Sometimes even a quotation search would only show a link to the page from another page. My keyword density wasn't too bad I thought since I never consciously (!) tried to push it. I worked and researched for months and finally gave up in resignation to a deep and passionate hatred for Google.
I read your post and you might have saved me. Not that you say anything totally new, just the way you express it gave me new awareness. Going back to some of my pages, I realize that, while I wasn't deliberately putting in keywords, I also didn't hesitate to use them when I could. So in a page titled "frozen widgets", I would write a sentence like "Frozen widgets are part of a healthy lifestyle" instead of writing "They're part of a healthy lifestyle".
Sure that's not a big deal. It's still perfectly good and natural English. But it turns out that that accumulates quite a lot - certainly enough to trigger the Algorithm.
Thanks so much for the insight. I've revised all my pages and reduced the keyword density by about 80% for now. I'll wait a month or two and see how that goes then perhaps take it further.