First off, I am not giving any tips for SEO here - there are experts who have tuned this to a perfect science and it works phenomenally well if you follow a few simple steps towards getting the name of your company or product on to the first page of search results. What I am asking is, what is the ideal mix of those results?
I have been looking for some information about a group of companies and wanted to read reviews about their products/services. My goal was to check whether the products/services are creating enough buzz to qualify as a threat/interest and be acknowledged as trendsetters. What I realized was that most of these companies have managed to optimize their information out there to get themselves onto the first page of almost every search engine that one might use. However, all these results seemed to be nothing more than information about the products and not really reviews or customer comments. For those, I needed to navigate to second or third page, by which time, I would have left investigating the company.
There might be some good strategic levers that prompted this action by the companies. However, from the point of view of an analyst/researcher (i.e. me) or a prospective net-savvy customer, this would be a handicap towards making a choice or decision about a product.
Based on this experience, I would say that the optimized mix would be a mix of product information, customer testimonials on the company website and the customer website and a few reviews by independent sources like specialist bloggers, users, technology sites and others. After all, if you want to buy or evaluate a product off the web, you would not want to converse only with the salesperson, or the owner but also have the opinions of the independent specialist and satisfied customers.