I have run a low PR site which was number one on all key searches because of its specialist nature. If you are indexed then it is all down to page design and competition for those keywords. My present site generally comes in at positions two or three because it is locality based in a major city and there were other sites in the niche around before I set it up.
If you are looking at very generic searches such as "widgets" then you have a long hard struggle against established sites. If you are looking at something very precise like "red widget enthusiast clubs in Freedonia" then you need to work on optimising content more than links.