Planet13 - 4:07 am on Aug 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
They're legit, relevant, easy to navigate, well-designed sites with the content on it that Google users search for.
In the niche I watch closely, there are sites that are MUCH better than those in the top ten - and I will admit they are better than mine as well. Better design, better photos of the products, better navigation, better text content, and better prices.
They usually hang out on page 3 of the SERPs. Not a whole lot of google love being thrown their way.
On the other hand, I have seen some crap sites link with really bad crap links. I saw a site that was ONLY an under construction home page rank top five for a two word recipe keyword. They decided to get backlinks before putting ANY content on the site.
In a perfect world, you would have exactly what the users wanted and awesome backlinks. Know your strengths and weaknesses. I've got better content and better prices than my competitors. They have more links than me, I have better links than them. I've been getting more and more links lately, and surprise, surprise, I am climbing up the rankings.