Let me give you a little background on my site history first. On Oct. 5 2012 my original site was hit by the first google penguin implementation and lost virtually all of its organic from google over the next few months. So, I took a domain which I had purchased at the same time and with a name in the same niche, but had never done anything with and I moved some of my best content from the original site to this new site. I then 301 redirected the old pages on the old site to the new pages on the new site. This worked for awhile, mostly anyway. However, as you might be guessing, eventually these rankings tanked too.
That was a bit over a year ago. At that point I basically quit working altogether due to some severe health issues. But I kept paying hosting etc. to at least maintain the sites presences in case I got a chance to go back to it. Fast forward to not quite 3 months ago, mid-Nov. of last year. I was finally able to get back to work and have been working on recovering site #2 ever since.
The first thing I did was remove the redirects and any other connections between the original, penguin penalized site and the new site (also now penguin penalized from the redirects I guess? I dunno tbh). Since then I have concentrated on putting out lots of new, high-quality, original content and working on acquiring only decent quality or better backlinks from mostly relevant, non-spammy domains. Fast forward again to the present day.
At this point my backlink profile is definitely superior to all but a couple of the largest, highest quality authority sites in this niche. Yet in the rankings I still get slaughtered by sites with unbelievably spammy backlink profiles, or in many cases hardly any backlink profiles at all! Google does seem to like my homepage and rate it as a high-quality source but that's it. Either my home page ranks for the search or nothing does. In some cases a /tag/ page will rank or even a page largely unrelated to the kw phrase. But NEVER the actual inner page which is targeting the kw phrase. No matter how uncompetitive it is. Heck, sometimes the backlinks to the page will outrank the page itself if they are high-quality backlinks and it is a low comp. kw phrase. Frustrating.
And then yesterday I did a little messing around and found this (the reason why I am here now posting this).
Not only do my inner pages just not rank in a general search but when I do a specialized search using:
site:www.mysite.com "keyword phrase"
The results which come up are just as bad as with a general search. In other words, the home page or a /tag/ page or whatever will outrank the inner page and even worse, in many cases that inner page doesn't even show up in those search results at all! They are indexed though. You can get them to show by going to the end of the search results and clicking on the "see more results like these" option but that is usually the only way you are going to find those pages.
What could possibly be causing something like this? It's obviously not just a matter of my competition because even when confining the search to my own site the rankings are still all whacked out. I have to admit I am just completely stumped and discouraged at this point. If I could hire a professional I would in a heartbeat because this used to be very profitable ($15-20k month at its peak) but with current revenue closer to zero...I just can't do it right now and am simply on my own here. My only hope is communities like these and my own time and dedication to the job.
I very much appreciate any insights or ideas you might have regarding my problem. Thanks for your time!