Google is still doing odd things to our site rankings. Initially the thinking was that sites were being filtered / penalised for use of competitive keywords. Now it is beginning to seem that they have seriously reworked the way they weight sites. Sites that are commercial seem to rank less for competitive keywords than non-commercial sites.
So maybe Google isn’t penalising site, rather they just aren’t ranking commercial sites with competative keywords . It still isn’t clear how they are determining if sites are commercial of not but it would seem that some sort of flag was set on sites during the last crawl as SEO’s are having no luck getting sites to move in the ranks.
Anyway I’m just not going to bother with google for the time being as despite the drop in our sites targeted to particular keywords we are still getting traffic.