Search Engine Rankings Will Always Go Up and Down
Rankings will always go up and down, and since there are hundreds of factors affecting them, you'll never actually be able to figure out the exact combination of what's working for one page. Every visible, indexable piece of text on a page is taken into consideration by the search engines when they determine relevance.
Quite often, all it takes to rank for an obscure expression is a small amount of on-page content. As the competition for the keywords increase, off-page factors tend to become more important. But the first consideration the search engines make is gathering pages that are algorithmically relevant to the query. Relevance is easiest to achieve by placing the words on your page. Simply having them there is not always enough, but that is where it starts.
To the search engine, there can never be two pages showing at number 1. One has to come first and the other has to come second. Why a search engine would put one before the other is a trade secret. You and I can guess all day long, but we really don't know how much data they are looking at.
Many SEOs today make the critical mistake of assuming that templated content is ignored. It's most probably not given much consideration. But there is no indication in any of the technical literature that it's actually ignored. Your SERP is a pretty good example of how a page can be deemed relevant at least in part on the basis of its templated content.
I have not done any competitive analysis on the SERP but there is every reason to accept that the template content helps in some measure and absolutely no reason to assume it doesn't.
Ultimately, there is no way for us to really explain why a particular page ranks as it does.
But all on-page content is indeed indexed. You can pretty much test that by using the "site:" command and querying the search engine for content on the page. If it returns the page for common words you see on the page (that are not used in anchor text on other pages or in text surrounding links on other pages pointing to the page), then you know they are indexed.
That won't tell you how well the page scores in terms of relevance for those words. It just confirms that they are indexed and that therefore the page's relevance score for those terms will take that into consideration.
Wow, don't you think website ranking is a subject base on assumption as there are no direct right or wrong answers.
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