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- How good are you?
- How many sites are competing for that specific term?
- What search engine are you optimizing for?
- We talking Organic or paid?
- what do the top 5 to 10 sites that show up for that keyword look like? Are they SEO'd? Do they have quality links? Do they have any .edu or .gov links?
- How old are the top 5 sites that are listed for that term?
- How do the top 5 sites incorporate content into their site? How fresh do you suspect it is?
- Of the links that your competitors have, what anchor text are they using?
These are just a few that I'm sure most people look into. Keyword research in my opinion is the #1 most important step in successful SEO or SEM. This is where I spend most of my time when starting on a project or a site. Picking the wrong term can kill you.