wheel - 3:39 pm on Nov 14, 2011 (gmt 0)
And all the things you mentioned, wheel, of course matter. Just not as effective.
You know the funny thing about panda? The serps for my niche are dominated by brands - but I'm write in there. What do you think a consumer sees when they see the serps with a list of brand names they know from TV....and my little 'ole site? They think I'm a brand - and that is relaying huge authority. And I don't do any of the branding signals you mentioned - I do my branding online. I am branded in the 'TV/conferences' equivalent on the internet.
In fact, I am now getting feedback from clients about how great my site is, trust, they called because I know what I'm doing, etc.
So let's not propogate the myth that this can't be done or isn't effective. It CAN be done and IS being done. If you're not doing it, don't point the finger at Google. The fault lies entirely with you.