It doesn’t take much time wandering around the world of SEO before you realise that there are some highly competitive keywords, and some not-so competitive keywords, that can be optimised for within your industry. Of the former, there are very few companies that can actually attain the dizzy heights of a top ranking. It’s simple logic. Google only has room at the top of the SERPs for one website for each keyword.
Even with this knowledge, a lot of businesses choose to pursue the most competitive keywords in their field. This is quite puzzling behaviour, although it isn’t really surprising. Everyone wants to be the king of the castle in their particular field, and it is difficult to accept that you can’t be. In any other areas of competition, failing to get to the top five isn’t going to do you any real harm. Aiming for the stars is generally seen as a good thing, in terms of search engine optimisation, however, aiming for keywords that are way out of your league can cause a world of hurt.
It is far better to think of keywords as building blocks, rather than kingdoms to conquer. If you operate a small site, there is very little chance that you will be able to rank at the top of Google for the main keywords within your industry. Aiming for some of the smaller keywords, however, can mean that you will appear in a number of different searches, building up influence in your industry in a gradual way.
Once you have conquered the smaller keywords, and earned yourself some kudos, you’ll find that the larger kingdoms will fall into your lap given time.