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Note: Some of the high ranking pages may be on famous websites (Domain Authority of 90+). If so, it’s unlikely you’ll outrank them …unless, their high ranking page isn’t very focused on the topic. If you can make a higher quality page that better indicates it’s relevance by using the keyphrase, you may be able to outrank them! More on using keywords in a bit…
Over the last 2 decades, I have unsuccessfully engaged SEO professionals to lift my site on the web, being to scared to attempt anything like that myself (even though as a professional sailor I am comfortable in situations of personal peril during storms at sea). Your guidence and tools have given me the confidence to incorporate my knowledge & expertise into my web site content. I originally doubted my ability thinking professional writers were required BUT just like our guests soak up my wifes knowledge of the underwater world, I look forward rewriting my web site and sharing our specialised knowledge and experience of our “back yard” which is about half the size of Texas !
Good point,The thing with this client is they wanted to mitigate the risk of removing a large number of links so high quality link building was moved in early before keyword research. So it is on a case by case basis, but defiantly a good point for most new clients I work with who do not have pre-existing issues you want to do Keyword Research very early in the process. 
SEMRush has a relatively new feature that allows you to quickly see the highest-trafficked pages for a given domain. It’s a bit buried, so can be easy to miss, but it’s a no-brainer shortcut to quickly unveil the topics with massive traffic. Unfortunately it doesn’t immediately give you traffic or traffic cost, but one extra step will solve that for you.
Companies that employ overly aggressive techniques can get their client websites banned from the search results. In 2005, the Wall Street Journal reported on a company, Traffic Power, which allegedly used high-risk techniques and failed to disclose those risks to its clients.[15] Wired magazine reported that the same company sued blogger and SEO Aaron Wall for writing about the ban.[16] Google's Matt Cutts later confirmed that Google did in fact ban Traffic Power and some of its clients.[17]

Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[53] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's search engine results page.[54]

Use long tail keywords. Don’t just go with the most popular keywords in your market. Use keywords that are more specific to your product or service. In time, Google and other search engines will identify your website or blog as a destination for that particular subject, which will boost your content in search rankings and help your ideal customers find you. These tools will help.
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