dickbaker - 2:10 pm on Jun 2, 2011 (gmt 0)
Go back to your search results and analyse, I mean really analyse, what the sites that occupy the first ten results have in common and how they differ from yours. As, Matt Cutts said already, this algo (just like any) can be reverse engineered. Google's achilles heal is that they can't ever stop us from seeing the intricacies of what ranks and what doesn't. We can't look behind the curtain, but what they serve up infront is a great big 'show'.
I do analyze, but sometimes it's too funny to focus. For one of the money phrases for which I was bumped from page one to page five or six, the first four results are the manufacturer (of course). Results six through ten are ecommerce stores, which makes sense.
Result #5 is a personal site with a last updated copyright of 2007. Part of it is devoted to the guy's interest in my niche, with stories about him using a widget on a trip. He also has stories about scuba diving and motorcycles, which are NOT related to my niche. It's the type of site people put up back when ISP's gave a free website.
That result is not an anomaly. It's all over my searches, in my niche and in others.