Lately looking at sites that have displaced mine for the most competitive keywords for my sector in UK results (which is becoming more and more competitive) I have noticed that:
a) These sites belong to the same person / organisation b) Have similar content to each other c) Have thousands of backlinks. Now these backlinks at first glance are anything but relevant! The sites are for the UK market (.co.uk's) yest a lot of the links come from Polish sites, Polish e-commerce site wide links clearly from completely different sectors, blog comments etc etc. No disrespect to Polish people/sites, but it's a question of relevance! d) A lot of these links seem to be paid links
So basically it seems to me that large quantities overrides quality bigtime. If you read any guidelines they all seem to say to acquire relevant links etc etc, to be careful not to be in bad neighbourhoods etc.
I would have thought the Google algo was more sophisticated that this! Has anyone else seen similar occurences?