I have followed Google's guidelines on some web sites with poor results. What is "quality content" anyway? What are high value links? Where I have unique content of around 1000 words and include say a video and an image that's related and then build a steady stream of "high quality" links, the result is poor rankings.
Where I have been more aggressive, i.e. high quality content but more aggressive link building the results have been poor.
My competitive research suggests quite strongly that if you have a major recognizable brand name, your site will rank highly, regardless of the quality of the content. I don't promote major brands; just small to medium sized businesses.
I guess what I am asking is, where's the good information on how to rank in Google today?