martinibuster - 5:47 am on Dec 14, 2012 (gmt 0)
...what other things do you see you think could cause the page to rank where it is?
I think User Intent has been a factor in some of the ranking shuffles members have been seeing. This means that the old way of ranking, what I call Micro SEO, used to be links, title tag, H1, anchors, domain name as anchor text etc. The new way is to classify sites according to how they relate to user queries. Typical classifciations can be commercial, educational, scientific, community, news, reference, etc. That's Macro.
So instead of displaying whatever wins the Micro SEO Arms Race (link/anchor/h1, etc.), Google selects from a pool of web pages determined to be a certain kind of web page that related to a certain kind of user intent. The Arms Race factors of H1, anchor text and all that becomes less important because understanding the query and matching the answer to it supercedes those factors.
...To me personally it looks like 'link value' can definitely be overridden by other factors...
Not just the link value, as I noted above. The ENTIRE range of traditional "micro" SEO ranking factors can, in my opinion, be considered as depreciated by a step, with the elevation of "macro" ranking factors like user intent, understanding a web page without relying on keywords, etc.
Some may see it as a war on SEO. You would be damning yourself to blindness to see it in those terms. See it for what it is, then try to match it.
...what other factors people think could be in play if we 'throw out the links' to a page.
I don't think it's a matter of throwing out the links as a ranking factor. I think it's a matter of factoring in user intent, factoring in stemming to show web pages that match the concept of the question even if the keywords aren't in it. Then you have to factor in that the pool of sites to be displayed may shrink for certain queries. Have you noticed for some queries how it seems Google is displaying a limited amount of results and apparently not showing what they feel are irrelevant results?
I think Google's stemming is throwing sites into the mix that might not rank because of keywords or even backlinks/anchor.
The above issues I raised is giving birth to some oddball "whiteboard" posts that try to identify traditional citation, co-citation and co-occurrence based reasons for some SERPs that aren't really relying on traditional Micro SEO factors. I think it's time to erase the whiteboards and blackboards because those old school Micro SEO factors have been superceded to a certain extent. Which is why using those old ways to describe what's happening keeps coming up short.