Don't know if this new or what, but tonight I'm noticing something with one of my sites and haven't delved in deeper to notice it on others yet but Google is now using our category anchors (on-site anchors, not inbound anchors) followed by " - Site Name" and suddently those terms that I was on page one for but in the 3-5 SERP ranges I am now #1 for whatever anchor is in our category menu. Did Google do something different with devaluing inbound anchors and increase site navigation anchors as a ranking factor or what?
Anybody else noticing this? Take one of your site's menu/category anchors and use your #1 SEO'd term targeting your home page behind it. Are you #1 as well for such?!
I was just assuming that it's display only and not particularly tied to any change in the ranking algo. If a URL ranks for more than one query, the title rewrite changes for each case. So I was assuming that it's an attempt to show the user that "this result really is relevant for you" - something that happens AFTER the ranking is calculated.
So it's interesting that you see the changed titles right at the time your ranking increases. I'll keep an eye out for other clues, and would appreciate any other observations from members.