Google can give you a good sense of the value and popularity of your site through its Page Rank system. The idea behind the Page Rank is simple (though the algorithm used to calculate it isn't): Your page rank can be higher if you can get more backlinks from high-ranking sites. And the higher your Page Rank, the better Google views you. You should note that Google also considers more than the number of backlinks pointing from your site, it also looks at the value of your site-linking. So if site A has 50 backlinks, all from PR6 value sites, it will beat out site B in terms of Page Rank, which has nabbed 50 backlinks all coming from PR1 value sites. The thing is, it can be a real chore to get a lot of high-quality backlinks, and you will need to be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort to achieve this.
If you're fortunate enough to have some disposable income, you may want to consider the following option. You can contact the webmaster of a similar niche website that has a high rank, and ask them to link to your website for a small charge. The higher their Page Rank, the higher the price you can charge - from $20 a link to a few thousand dollars a link. Think of it this way: by putting aside about $250 a month, or $3,000 a year, you can purchase good one-way links to your site, which can easily get you a high Page Rank without all the extra fuss. It's not easy, nor is it a good idea, to try to build a large amount of backlinks to your site in the space of one day. It's better to take a gradual approach; if you tackle this with a slow and steady eye, you'll eventually see the type of results you're looking for. Another reason for not moving too fast on this is that Google may penalize your site for such actions. Ultimately, what you want is quality over quantity. With the time you're going to save by taking the slow-and-steady approach, you can spend your days creating backlinks.
A number of the sites I've seen on Google's first page are getting huge amounts of traffic by using keywords that are especially competitive, and all of these sites have a Page Rank of 1. Google uses the Page Rank to measure your site's popularity and value; however, you shouldn't see the Page Rank as the sole criterion for deciding how successful your website is. It is possible to get on Google's first page even with a low Page Rank, which means that you should determine your site's success by the backlinks and traffic you are getting. In conclusion, a high Google PageRank doesn't show if you are successful or not, but it does indicate generally how popular your site is in Google's eyes.