Planet13 - 9:39 pm on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)
Does the targeted page rank at all for those keywords? If so, where?
How well is the targeted page linked from the home page and from other internal pages?
So, if I want to target the #1 position for my kw, do I just keep building backlinks to the /keyword.php page?
Do you link OUT to any external AUTHORITY sites from this page? I find that can help, too.
I think that a good safe strategy would be to avoid creating too many exact match anchor text links INTO your target page. If at all possible, just get one or two HIGH AUTHORITY pages to link in to it (such as from an ON TOPIC .edu site).
Then you can build links to other pages on your site that internally link to your target page.
One other thing: If that target page does not rank well at all, it is time to see if there is any duplicate content out on the web. Maybe somebody (a competitor, perhaps) has taken your material and posted it somewhere else, and google, in all its wisdom, is thinking that YOUR page is the duplicate.
I have filed a couple of DMCA requests for one targeted page and it has seen around a 25% increase in traffic and higher rankings. Might be a coincidence, but worth investigating.