My view is that competitive keywords are often hijacked by very powerful companies like franchises who spent a lot of money promoting their businesses.
How the little guys like me can make it? That's pretty difficult to compete with multi million dollars companies, but Google as a policy to give a chance to small businesses, and that's what makes a huge difference.
If you target and rank top10 with low competitive keywords that no one are looking for or convert into sales, you cannot make it.
If you target high competitive keywords, that will be very difficult to rank high and you will fight with marketing team hired by corporations.
I found that if you target keyphrases in a specific niche and incorporate competitive keywords, you have a possibility to rank decently and have traffic that convert into sales.
There is no magic, in all situations you must work hard, and there is no shortcut to success.