Ever since Google Universal Search started blending news results into the organic search results we have been watching with interest to see where the news results appeared. Sometimes they are at the top of the page and occasionally at the bottom but more often than not they are somewhere in the middle.
Recently I’ve noticed that Google is creating what we have been calling a Hotspot where 3 lucky sites get effectively framed by news results, PPC ads and shopping results while the other 7 results on the first page are being frozen out and stand very little chance of seeing traffic.
Take a look at the screenshot below. See how the first 3 results are far more prominent than the other 7? Notice how the 4th result (which is the last one to be visible without scrolling on most monitors) is Wikipedia?
Google has managed to take a results page of 10 listings and make 7 of them pretty much invisible. If your main keyword results page looks like this then you simply have to be in the top 3 to get any decent traffic.