This may seem like a fairly trivial question, but in it's most basic form - How do you do SEO?
To go into a little more depth, presume the website in question that we want to optimize is 100% complete as far as on-page optimization goes - great content, perfect SEO-friendly HTML markup.
I don't consider myself 'new' to SEO at all, but past this point it seems like the most obvious activity is link building. I don't know if it's just me, but I'm finding this incredibly hard. If it were a humour site with lots of viral content, I would just post my content in humour threads on various forums and let links accrue naturally, but the site in question is a commercial site - online store - and I can't think of anywhere that might want to link to my content. I don't want to spam and my understanding is that submitting to random directories is of little to no value since my site has already been indexed by Google (past point of indexation, I doubt adding any further links would have much/any value at all). My target audience are 'installers', so short of looking for 'installer' forums relative to my company's products, I'm not sure where else would be relevant.
An obvious step for where to start would be to analyse our competitor's back links, but most of those are spammy directories or from a 'SEO firm' which have just used their link farm. There is the odd giant site that has links from websites like the BBC to pages not relevant to the products on offer, but there isn't much we could offer in the way of alternative content that would invoke people to link to us either.
My question is applicable to any site, not just e-commerce. I guess my main problem is that my target audience aren't of a generation that live and breath the internet, meaning there aren't many relevant websites to gain links from.
How do you sit down and 'do' SEO past on-page optimzation? Presumably link building. If you have an audience that aren't likely to be webmasters themselves, you don't stand a chance of being linked to, so where do you turn?
(Obviously I undertake other marketing activities - we have a healthy base of 3-5k emails (given willingly at exhibitions/trade shows) that we can use to promote ourselves, as well as social networks and so on, but we are only really promoting ourselves to people that already know about us. We need to expand - with SEO being probably one of the most promising ways to do so (in theory)).