tedster - 4:54 pm on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0) [edited by: tedster at 5:14 pm (utc) on Mar 12, 2010]
How about this way of thinking: Google determines the final ranking for a URL by combining factors from two different buckets.
Bucket #1 contains "query dependent factors" -- relevance measures such as title elements, backlink anchor text, user intention, etc.
Bucket #2 contains "query independent factors" such as PageRank, trust, neighborhood quality, presence of malware, etc.
Bucket #1 carries more of the weight for the final ranking order than Bucket #2 does, but they BOTH are in play.
[edited by: tedster at 5:14 pm (utc) on Mar 12, 2010]