QUOTES ("KEYWORD/KEYWORDS") - I've heard many different opinions in the past, but it seems that most agree that by putting your keywords with surrounding quotes ("KEYWORDS") is the best way to determine the exact amount of competing pages that google has indexed.
INTITLE:"KEYWORD/KEYWORDS" - I've heard some say that since the "Title Tag" is the most powerful/important tag when google crawls is the best way to determine how many real competing pages are out there.
Commercial Intent Keywords - The best way to find out if the chosen keywords are mainly in it for commercial purposes (generate sales). You can check the right side and the top of the google SERP's to see the google adwords ads or use the google adwords keyword tool. Very important.
I would like to hear what most people think would be the most important or best way to determine how much competition is out there. Let's say; QUOTES vs INTITLE: or you can just speak in which way that you think is the quickest best way to determine your keyword phrase competition.
Putting our heads together will definitely help us all out on this topic.
Thanks for participating in advance!