HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COMPETITIVENESS OF THE TERM.
I know you have seen it in SEO and backlinking ads where people are trying to sell you on their sure fire backlinks or SEO skills.
"I ranked number three for a term with 8,000,000 other competing pages"
"In just a week I outranked 22 million other pages competing for the same term"
yada yada yada
Why is this misleading?
When you do a search on Google all it does is return the number of times it finds the word or phrase in the database of crawled sites. It does not tell you who is trying to compete for those terms. You could do a search for blue jeans and not only will the word count include people trying to sell blue jeans who want to rank for the term but it will also include people talking about what they have on who couldn't care less about ranking for blue jeans. They are not competing for the term at all. Some might be blogging how much they hate blue jeans.
This is important because a lot of people think its hopeless when they see a big result when they search for a term and get millions of results but the facts are - given enough backlinks and on site SEO they could easily achieve rankings over millions of other pages because very few of those pages (and some times none) are even trying to rank for the term.
Don't believe me? check some searches out
free garbage - Google Search
Do you really believe there are 22 million pages people are trying to rank highly for "Free garbage" ? or another
garbage bag with holes - Google Search
How many people are really trying to rank for garbage bags with holes?
I guarantee you it is not 17 million pages. I know some people hate thier husbands but do you really believe that they have 42 million pages that are trying to compete for "give him cancer"?
give him cancer - Google Search
When determining competitiveness look at the top ten or top 50 sites that come up. Look at their backlinks (if you dont know how you need to learn how) and the terms they are trying to rank for (both by their content and by the anchor text they use in their backlinks).
Thats the best way to determine the competitiveness of a keyword phrase in SERPs not the amount of pages merely containing the word. Don't be fooled by that the next time you see a claim like that. Analyze the term to see if it even gets many searchers each month.