[During my keyword research for 100k Adsense blueprint I do the straight-up google search so I can check out the fifth position on the search page and I notice both the fifth and sixth positions have page ranks of 6 but no external backlinks. My goal per 100k manual is to find 5th position with no higher then Pagerank of 4 and less then 200 external links. My question- Does the fact that they have no external backlinks mean that I can beat them even though they have high Pagerank?]
First, PR is based on the strength of backlinks to a page. You cannot have a page with no backlinks that have a real PR6, something is very wrong there.
Second, rankings are based neither on PR nor link count. You cannot use those two metrics as reliable indicators of your competitors’ strength. You need to look deeper into the makeup of those backlinks. The only links that help the page rank are the relevant backlinks. You need to look at the relative strength of the relevant backlinks only.
[You can have a page with PR without external backlinks (or very few); I have experienced this myself. Generally, this happens because the main domain has PR that it’s passing down. I’m pretty sure this is the scenario he’s talking about; a subpage on a domain.]
Yes, you are right you can and usually do have PR with as few as one backlink. But I didn’t say few backlinks I said “no” backlinks there is a significant difference in my assertion and yours.
I do disagree with your assertion about the domain having PR. Google doesn’t assign PR to domains. PR is assigned to individual pages. And any page that links to the page being analyzed is considered a backlink, at least by Google it is. And yes that does include backlinks from internal as well as external pages.
I agree with you that the OP may not have considered backlinks from internal pages. Clearly he wrote, “both the fifth and sixth positions have page ranks of 6 but no external backlinks”. The point that I failed to make clear is that PR comes from all backlinks, not just external backlinks. Thanks for pointing that out.