Hissingsid - 7:59 am on May 21, 2012 (gmt 0)
Is there some kind of search term categorisation going on?
Some of the sites that have appeared in the serps I follow are a kind of review site. They've not been there before in my micro niche because specialist micro sites have been able to out compete them on specific seo. Now they have been given a boost and it doesn't make logical sense when you analyse them unless someone/something has categorised them as "the type of site users are looking for when the search for widget service.
In other words Google is saying "ah we understand what your hidden meaning is behind that search so rather than just give you results from our algorithm that shows you sites that rank organically for that we are going to also show you some sites that we think are better".
If this is right then review sites, wikiwhatsits, price comparison sites, broad topic blogs etc are being given an "unfair" advantage because Google thinks you will like them better and you'll explore them a bit before, perhaps, going to the micro site that actually answers your question.
If this is right then Google is becoming more of a search augmented directory than a search engine.