If you have not heard yet, Google is busy testing "next generation" architecture for its website ranking system. What has actually changed and how Google will be changing its ranking factors is anyone's guess at this point. However, I recently did a search on several niches that I know very well in health and fitness related fields.
One thing stood out quite clearly: Google appears to be giving even more weight to university hosted websites (ie. websites with a .edu extension). When I compared the results between google's usual engine:
and the one under development:
I noticed that several .edu websites had moved from second and third page rankings to being listed on the first page of the results.
Take a moment and see how your favorite searches might change. Let me know what you find out?
cheers - Ryan