Planet13 - 12:23 am on Dec 19, 2012 (gmt 0)
@ Robert Charlton:
I had written a reply to your post above, but unfortunately I of course deleted it before hitting the submit button. So here is just kind of a brief response regarding your points:
A) I have lessened the amount of times that it was mentioned on the home page - which is probably why the home page is not ranking anymore in the spot that the optimized page HAD been ranking.
B) The deeper page is a category level ecomm page, and links directly to the product level ecomm pages, plus a few informational pages which, IMHO, are related to the products on the category level page.
C)I think it is a link issue, and to be more specific, I think that a former poster on webmasterworld was trying to do me a favor by linking to my site. Unfortunately, he seems to have been penalized around middle of last year. So while I have some good natural links from places like huffington post and PBS, maybe his links killed me?
you also mentioned:
"Eventually, results would revert to results appropriate to the actual situation, which apparently you're not planning on changing."
I am not sure that is entirely accurate. I have, indeed, tried to make the page more concise, which has resulted in less mentions of the keyword phrase. I have moved about half the content to other pages, which I then linked out to from the category level optimized page.
It would, however, be difficult to change much more on the page. It is, after all, a category-level ecommerce page and it's main purpose is similar to that of most every other category-level ecommerce page on the web: show thumbnails and have links directly to the products in that category.
Indeed, the MAJORITY of other ecommerce sites ranking for this keyword have the exact same structure. The exceptions are the amazons and ebays where google has decided to list a search results page (instead of a category page) from one of those sites (despite the collective thought being that we should noindex search results).