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NAP acronym sands for Name Address Phone. You need to ensure that your are consistent in the way you list your Name, Address an Phone data on your site and on other citation and directory sites. Discrepancies in the way you are listed across various properties including your own site and on Google+Local, Google Maps, Yelp, and all the other directory and citation sites - can result in the Google Local engine to not give you ranking points for the local seo citations.
SEMrush is a very useful tool for both researching competitors when starting a site or for growing an established site. I really like to find weaker niche sites that still seem to be ranking for lots of keywords; SEMrush helps me see what they are ranking for and what I can potentially target. You can also see what keywords you’re on the cusp of ranking for with your established site - another very useful feature.
Its important that you setup your social channels and interlink them and then engage with your users on social with the right content and drive traffic to your site through these channels. Racking up fake signals and fake followers who do not engage or visit your site through the channels, is easily detected by Google as false and it does not help your rankings.
Yes solid keyword data dramatically changes the game as far as rankings go. I have seen many tools that provide Cost per click stats and meaningless charts that confuse most users. the data Jaaxy provides helps drive “organic” traffic to your site on a consistent basis which will out perform PPC sites every time. I like how you say thinking like the end user, as I feel that way when I search. I dive into what people are looking for and it really helps drive content idea’s. I have seen great results from that.