heisje - 9:41 pm on Sep 25, 2013 (gmt 0)
but it is evident that they are doing something right
Wouldn't bet on that. Rather, it is evident that Google's algorithm is skewed in favor of the "signs" brand sites emit, both on site and off site. You do not posses the firepower to re-create such signs. So, forget it, and don't waste your time.
Therefore, churn & burn - and don't get sentimental with old sites : live and let die. As simple as that.