screwtheninetofive - 7:56 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0) [edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:06 am (utc) on Jan 13, 2014]
Here's what's really going on:
Exact match keywords have been devalued (ie. you don't need to have the exact match keyword anywhere on your page anymore)
Sites with high domain authority which are NOT specifically targeting certain keywords are somehow ranking on page 1.
Search for "how to treat <widgetitus>", open each of the top 10 results and run a search for "how to treat <widgetitus>" on the page - none show the keyword anywhere on the page or in the URL and I'm seeing this everywhere.
This is hummingbird in full force my friends. Google is now more efficiently determining relevancy NOT based off exact match keywords, but through others means.
This means that sites like webmd who has a page about treating <widgetitus>, but don't specifically mention "how to treat <widgetitus>" can still rank for that term and many others.
The floodgates have now opened for all the major brand sites who hold so much link authority, making it almost impossible to compete against.
It's not game over yet for the little guy, but there is certainly a shift in focus that will have to be made.
[edit reason] removed specific keyword, per forum Charter [/edit]
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 8:06 am (utc) on Jan 13, 2014]