One of my articles just dropped from the third or fourth spot on Google for my two main keywords...
to way down (I can't even find it, but I do know it's listed because if I put "hubpages" after it it shows up). Why would this have happened?
It is pretty impossible to understand the fickleness of Google...however one cause might have been if your Hub wasn't getting any traffic, or the traffic and interaction had dropped way off. Some people are speculating that the latest Google formula puts more weight on the amount of traffic and interaction (like comments) a site is getting, that and the holy backlink grail.
Again just speculation from what I've been reading on other forums etc. It is frustrating, I feel your pain.
It actually ended up bumping back up to where it was after a couple of weeks. I have now seen this happen with two other hubs that dropped from the first page to nowheresville and then in a few days were back to the first page. There's another one (My Demand Studios Scam? article: http://hubpages.com/hub/is-demand-studios-a-scam) that keeps fluctuating from the second spot overall to somewhere on the second page.
I guess you're right, there's just no predicting Google.
A lot of sites are writing about Demand Media these days, and since Google favours recent articles it quite possible your page is jumping up and down. Just keep it fresh, that might help.
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