tedster - 6:24 pm on Apr 3, 2013 (gmt 0)
Google is more interested in Joe User than he is in Joe Webmaster.
That is so on the money, netmeg. As a user, I care about trust a lot and appreciate knowing what big brands are selling the things I search for. It takes a lot for me to trust a website whose name I don't recognize. If they sell consumer goods, the quality of the product is not an issue. But things like speed of shipping, handling of mistakes, refunds etc certainly ARE issues. I've had good experiences in those areas with some mom and pop businesses, but as a proportion of all transactions I've had a consistently better experience with big brands.
As an SEO, I've worked with small and medium and big sites. They all have their Google challenges, believe me. I'm not a raving fanboi for Google, but I've got to acknowledge that they do an amazing job in this area. I think the fact that they CAN algorithmically create a mixed SERP like the one trinorthlighting reported above is amazing.
When it comes to non-transactional searches, I appreciate the big site emphasis even more. For example, when it comes to medical information I really don't want to lean heavily on off-brand information. It can be interesting for input's sake, but make it easy for me to find the pubmed's of the world, too.