Sand - 1:19 am on Mar 14, 2013 (gmt 0)
I did everything by the book, only White Hat SEO (I mean by that that I strictly followed Google's rules)
I don't mean to be a jerk, but so what?
Following the rules is something that helps you when you have a great site. You can't just throw something out there, follow the rules, and expect to get anything out of it. Not with how competitive most niches are these days.
If you were my client, I would ask you what makes your site so good that it deserves to rank above all the others out there. Forget about the rules, or who is getting away with what. If you showed 1,000 people who didn't know any better the top 20 sites in your niche, would 750 of them say that yours is the best?
And even if they do say yes, are you marketing it like a mad man?