However, this does not mean you cannot topple them. It just takes more of an effort in terms of content as your page has to build the trust. That is why you will see the "Google dance" happening for fresh content from a site that is not yet trusted or is not very authoritative. Google gives your page a chance and measures user click-throughs when it pushes you to certain spots in the SERPs and then measures user engagement levels when the traffic hit your site through those positions in the SERPs.
As for duplicate content, Google gets confused when you create and publish articles with similar content, and this eventually leads to indexation issues. Keyword cannibalization happens when the owner focuses his effort on ranking for a particular keyword from several different pages. When this happens, Google won’t acknowledge multiple pages; they’ll only focus on the best one thus making the other ones useless and inaccessible to search engines.
Pro Tip: the more love your website needs to be optimized, the more you should consider investing in a website redesign or a whole new website built with SEO in mind from the start. Key Medium can conduct a thorough technical website and SEO audit and walk you through recommendations to develop an action plan customized to your business goals, needs, and budget.
The Google Keyword Tool is SUPER helpful for building a foundation for your keyword research strategy. At the end of the day, these search numbers are coming straight from the horses mouth. You can filter down to a hyper-local level and see which keywords are getting the largest search volume. Plus, with it’s integration with PPC you can get a quick idea about commercial intent by looking at the bid and competition metrics. How much are people bidding on KWs, higher = more likely to generate a return. Usually its aligned with search intent. That said, the trending data is a little less reliable. I would still use Trends to analyze the popularity/ seasonality of KW search volume.
Yes solid keyword data dramatically changes the game as far as rankings go. I have seen many tools that provide Cost per click stats and meaningless charts that confuse most users. the data Jaaxy provides helps drive “organic” traffic to your site on a consistent basis which will out perform PPC sites every time. I like how you say thinking like the end user, as I feel that way when I search. I dive into what people are looking for and it really helps drive content idea’s. I have seen great results from that.