Zivush - 2:49 pm on Oct 31, 2013 (gmt 0)
I have noticed that websites that get a strong boost in social marketing (twitter, facebook, google+, etc.) tend to get a ranking boost.
There are certainly ways that people use to rank websites without using keywords and links, but so far, they don't work in Google that much, including Social Media.
I think you are misinterpreting Google search results.
My model for Google is this. Their search results must favor big brand-name sites because big brand-name sites run Google ads. To do otherwise using Social Media to rank websites and professionals/influencers would be to sacrifice too much revenue, they would be going back to pre-Adsense when all of their income came from ads right on the search engine page.
Your brand name
I've heard this "“Google Search Engine takes a direction to becoming a Reputation Management Search Engine.”
If they decide it works for advertising they might try it to the extent it won’t jeopardize their earning, but my guess is it would work badly for advertising, because people with real reputations to manage aren't interested in having ads run against their online work. Just think about what appears in the ads for searches on medical terms, for example, and you’ll understand why no medical professional would want his article about infertility sandwiched in Google ads, same for cancer doctors, etc. Same for scientists. same for teachers, same for everybody who comes to mind.
“So, why do many sites out there still care about their social media presence and their content quality?”
The successful how-to/information sites tend to be crap, though they are slightly better crap than a few years ago because they use their Adsense earnings to pay for editing (and promote their brand in social media). You will never find competent professionals to write Internet pages in their field for a price that makes it work for the website. As the biggest sites get bigger, they do trend to better quality because they have the Adsense to pay for it and the fear of Google changes to drive them, but it's not quality that got them to the top and more importantly, it's not quality that will keep them there.
It's pleasing Google, which is SEO, not content.