Planet13 - 3:48 pm on Sep 22, 2012 (gmt 0)
Firstly, thanks for your thoughts.
Some of your traffic has shifted to other site pages, so I wouldn't consider that a problem but more an indicator Google feels your site is fine, but they are looking for a closer match to user intent.
Unfortunately, for the keywords "blue widgets" google seems to be returning my home page instead of the desired blue-widgets.html page (although the home page ranks much lower than where the blue-widgets.html page used to rank).
So I agree with your premise that the SITE is ok in google's eyes, yet the page in question is not.
I don't do links and on-page at the same time,
Do you mean INTERNAL links?
Because I think my page is over-linked to internally, so I would like to REDUCE the amount of text on this particular page AND reduce the amount of internal links to that page.
Do you think that reducing the text AND reducing the number of internal links to the problem page would cause issues?
I've been satisfied changing existing phrases like "blue widgets" to phrases like: "small blue widgets"...
Thanks for the reminder. Yes, that is something I have tried to do.
I use their keyword tool to find higher volume phrases I haven't used and that they feel are related to "blue widgets". Maybe something similar would be helpful in your situation.
Thanks again for the suggestion. Can I ask which specific tool you use?
You might also try looking at the time on page for that category page. If users are on the category page just long enough to select a different page, then the destination product level pages could be considered more appropriate for the term "blue widgets".
That is something I will have to look into further.
However, a quick look shows that the page in question is second only to the index page in terms of time on page, and pages per visit (according to google analytics). So the users who DO land on the page seem to like it (and like the site in general).