sandboxsam - 9:20 pm on May 25, 2013 (gmt 0)
What I'm seeing on all my queries is that the recognizable brands are all at the top, and THEN you get to the independent sites and blogs. It's as if there are two separate SERPs, and if you're #1 for the independent sites, you'll still rank below the brands. Where I'm seeing this, there is NO mixing of the two - the brands stop at some point, and the indies begin.
The only exceptions are the lower volume keyphrases. On those, independent websites can rank amongst the brands, even over them.
Is anyone else seeing a distinct pattern of higher volume keyphrases being reserved for brands first, almost like two entirely separate SERPs for "brands" and "indies"?
Absolutely the case; big name sites rule the search results.
This seems to be what quality looks like to Google.