When it comes to the long tail, what I'm seeing so far seems to gel with comments made in last months thread by Victor - [webmasterworld.com
...] and also message #4152370
One site I've taken on recently always ranked well on the home page for various terms like 'brand of widgets', but nothing long tail because the actual product pages were only crawlable via paginated search results and were unoptimised and uncategorised.
We made adjustments to the site architecture so that we introduced about a hundred new category pages optimised for 'Buy used / secondhand <type> <widget>'. This introduced these pages into the top 20/30, and from there we planned to build links to those pages.
However what I'm seeing now is that all these pages have fallen dramatically.
What's interesting to me is that if I search for 'Buy <type> <widget>' the rankings are HIGHER than for either 'Buy used <type> <widget>' or 'Buy secondhand <type> <widget>'.
In other words it appears that the anchor boost the home page enjoys on <widget> helps inner pages rank for terms more closely related to that GENERAL phrase, and because the home page does not have a link profile containing the RELATED phrases, the inner pages rank worse for the more specific queries that they are optimised for.
Therefore, by building links to the home page containing these generic terms ('buy' 'used' 'secondhand') we could help the inner pages.
Is anyone else seeing anything like this?