The most valuable tip I give small business owners who are looking to improve their ranking is to optimize their website for voice search. As of January 2018 alone, there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month. This number has grown exponentially over the past year and it will continue to grow in 2019. Optimizing their sites now will give them an edge in all aspects of their marketing.
The great thing about the long tail for new sites that have no backlinks and no authority, is that it is possible to rank for these terms, assuming great on-page SEO, quality content etc.. So therefore focusing on the long tail is a strategy that is often recommended and in fact Rand himself (and indeed others of good repute) have cited 4+ words and lower LMS to avoid the med-high volume kws due to their kw difficulty. Have I completely missed the point in your guide or do you indeed have a slightly different view on the long tail?
Organic search results are free and display below Google Ads and sometimes local results. Google uses a sophisticated algorithm to determine which sites rank highest for organic search results based on keyword usage, relevance, site design, and other factors. Generally, Google provides the highest quality, most relevant results based on the keyword(s) used by the searcher.