SEO needn't be a black art
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This should always be the foundation of any SEO campaign. Without knowing what people are searching for what's the point of ranking for anything else?
Whether the organisation is single or multi site the impact for most companies can be immense. However. the right search terms need determining before populating the directories!
Identifying the best web pages for the deploying of specific key search terms. Each identified page is then closely optimised for that term. Review of the structure of the website may also determine the creation or moving of pages.
This is vital for the local SEO becoming dominant but also very beneficial in addressing bad reviews or building a solid base when greater exposure occurs.
Your competitor's as well as your own backlinks are determined earlier on. The next step is to categorise and determine the strategies needed to engage these valuable contacts.
Developing new content or ensuring existing content is being fully leveraged and repurposed is now crticial to engage all the audiences now identified. What's next? That very much depends on the findings of these steps.