JS_Harris - 7:10 am on Aug 11, 2013 (gmt 0)
aakk9999 - I made the changes in early Dec 2012 and they dropped off Google's radar within 3-5 days. There was a big Dec algo update but this was about two weeks before other sites started reporting it. Your #2 and #3 suggestions don't seem to fit but #1 might very well re:Google's patent:
If I got one of these responses it has stuck ever since.
During the transition from the old rank to the target rank, the transition rank might cause:
a time-based delay response,
a negative response,
a random response, and/or
an unexpected response
If these transitional ranking shifts are followed by what looks like a responsive action from the website, the URL or website which was previously only SUSPECTED as spam, might now be positively tagged as spam.
That would be correct, I should have just written that in the opening post. Given that Bing and Yahoo still like these pages I don't think I did anything drastically upsetting and the metrics remain virtually identical for both of them. I have no Google metrics to verify for these pages anymore and so I doubt it's a metrics thing. The rest of the site didn't suffer the same fate.
Just to be clear: You did not make any changes to existing content, you just added new content?
If it's the randomized response it would suggest that I don't change the content back since that would be trying to please Google, but how long does it last? It's been 8 months. What would you try, if anything, at this point?