wheel - 1:33 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
A strong website. Privacy, full contact info etc.
Get a custom design done, including graphics - no clipart.
Add expert level content. Not just 'good' content, but expert level.
That sends Google the right onpage signals, whatever they are.
Only build backlinks from high end websites. Do whatever it takes to get those high end backlinks. You can still get those types of backlinks if you provide enough motivation for them. Have a look at a high end website and think "what would actually make them give me a link?". Then spend the time/effort to make that happen. It's a LOT of effort.
If you're building backlinks and given the choice of anchor text, use your company name or url. For example, when I comment on blogs (which I do somewhat routinely), my anchor text is my company name. Yes, they're allnofollow links - but the text of my company name is there.
None of those are the exclusive domain of the big brands - small fish can replicate all of that. The only difference is seeking backlinks, it takes a lot of effort on the part of small brands...but it can be done.
I believe my 'brand' sends out other signals as well, but they stem from the above work. I.e. time on site and stuff comes from a quality design+good content. Media mentions come from developing links and making contacts.