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This site took a big hit in the Sept 23rd changes. I made some changes to clean things up (the main thing I'm guessing my penalty is from is for running amazon product feed - but that's a big guess at this time), but this could be much uglier than I had first thought. I have a lot of quality, on topic, incoming links from established sites that have been present for years. Something is very odd. Right now I'm just going to assume there are some problems with some of the PR numbers showing from some servers (keeping fingers crossed).
For most of of my front page main terms I've held position, but for dozens of little keyword combos on sub pages (that brought in about 15,000 unique visitors a month) I've dropped back from #1 to 40-50. Ahead of me now are pages/and or sites with heavy keyword repetition, mostly Pr 0 or PR 1 pages.
Hoping I just have to be patient and ride this one out.
Aside from a h1 tag and duplicate content product specifications found in dozens of other places, the pages above me have almost zero content with links out to ebay or other affilate links. The sites in question though are huge with thousands of pages indexed. So I'm thinking these sites could be above me because they have more weight behind their internal backlinks to the sub pages. Or perhaps I don't have enough deep links into the site. Or my keyword density isn't high enough....The guess work goes on and on.
I did hear that a lot of folks slammed late august came back on the 23rd of sept so perhaps this is just an algo tweak, that will be re-tweaked again soon.
Some terms return serps with lots of repetition of KWs, few backlinks, and no real content. Other terms show serps that are full of fairly on topic sites that barely mention the KW at all, not even in the title tag.
I really hope this is one of those situations where things will revert soon.