brysonmeunier - 6:30 pm on Sep 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
I have a 1 week old website where the only links come from my 2 other sites and my Twitter posts (no retweets yet or tweets about my new site), but it is already #1 for its search term which is its domain name. This is a fairly competitive keyword with about 306 million search results.
My experience is similar. I have a year old site that ranked on the first page for its target keyword phrase in a week and has held the #2 position out of 800k results since the second week ahead of Boing Boing, AOL, the official site, and a number of other sites with a great deal of authority, simply because I controlled the order and placement of keywords in the domain and title, and put relevant content in the body. This is what Google Webmaster Tools says about the link graph:
We do not know of any links to your site. If your site is new, we may not have found any links yet, or other sites may not link to yours. Check back soon for more data.
I would imagine that some sites do get more links because they have the exact phrase in the domain, but in this case controlling the domain and title is enough. Even though I'm benefiting from it in this test case, it's not really fair to larger sites that can't change the domain every time they want to indicate relevance, and in my view should probably be deemphasized a bit.