Target the wrong keywords and all your efforts will be in vain. Choose the right keywords and you'll see your traffic skyrocket. Therefore, think long and hard about what keywords people are most likely to use to find you. Make lists of single keywords and then combine them into phrases.
You rarely want to target a single keyword. With billions of words indexed on the Web now, generally one word simply won't cut it. People learn quickly that if they type in "properties," they get listings for real estate from all over the world! While it would be nice if you were positioned well on this extremely broad keyword, a better use of your time is to pair the generic keyword with something more specific.
You might get lucky and rank well on just "property" since it's in your page too, but if not, at least you'll rank well on "Boston property," which will be far less difficult to achieve a top 10 or top 20 listing for. These more specific keywords will also bring you far more qualified prospects. People continuously try to monitor their rankings on keywords that people using search engines are not likely to query.
For example, I had a well-meaning customer send me a list of his keywords for the "cheap airfares" that his company sold. His list went something like this:
cheap flights reservation
online flights reservation
The word "cheap" alone does nothing to target their audience. It has to be paired with other words like "flights" or "airline reservations" to have any meaning. It's the same with "quote" and "discounted" - too broad. They must be paired with one or two other words. Statistically, most people search for two-to three-word phrases to avoid getting back too many unrelated matches. Keep this in mind when you design your pages.
Don't worry about there not being enough top 10 slots where you can achieve a high ranking. True, there are some keywords that are very competitive. If you find that no matter what you do, you can't get in that top 10 spot for that word or phrase, just be creative. There are SO MANY other keywords and keyword combinations where you can achieve a top 10 ranking! It's really NOT very difficult at all!
If you don't achieve a good ranking on "cheap airfares," keep trying, but also be creative and target "inexpensive airfares" too. See, it's all about thinking like your customer or clientele - and it's really pretty easy to find a keyword combination that you can dominate in the search engines. You'll often find that there are more people searching for these alternate phrases than were searching for the first phrase you had in mind. In marketing, this is called carving out your niche.
If you're Microsoft, you can afford to fight over who has the best "browser software." But, for the rest of us, we know we can't always fight the big boys. So instead, savvy marketers identify a "niche" (keywords and keyword combinations) that few others are targeting and go after them.