Throughout my many years (makes me sound old) in the search industry, I have heard about many filters and penalties, including a filter or penalty to prevent a site from ranking well for a specific keyword phrase. For example, if I want to rank well for big blue pineapple chair and I create a page about a big blue pineapple chair but Google never ranks me for that term, I may consider my site to be penalized from ranking well from that specific term.
A HighRankings Forum thread has a couple webmasters asking about such a filter. They say they rank well for everything they want, but not for a single keyword phrase that they once ranked well for. The question they asked does a search engine, such as Google, penalize a site for a specific keyword phrase?
Here is a poll, let me know what you think about this topic:
As you can see from the poll, I have two Yes answers and one No. You can select all or none. Yes algorithmically means that Google has a filter that is automated. Yes Manually means Google does filter for keyword phrases, but a human does it. No, means, no, Google does not penalized in this way.
I'll vote but I won't tell you what my thoughts are until after I post the results.
Forum discussion at HighRankings Forum.