"Rankings continue to matter more and more for SEO." What is the importance of Rankings in 2015 as far as you're concerned?
Now that we don't have keyword data in our analytics and Webmaster Tools only gives a small fraction of the complete picture, we have to use rankings as a proxy to determine what the intent of the users arriving from Organic Search.
What are your favorite strategies to get your site or content ranked in the Google SERPs?
I like building awesome things. That is to say, I really enjoy the challenge of determining audiences and then improving existing or building new content to support brand business goals and also gather links. Everything starts with audience and content for us at iPullRank. If you're specifically looking for new link building tactics with this question, I don't believe anyone needs any new tactics. I'd suggest checking out Jon Cooper's list of link building tactics instead.
What would you say are the 3 critical elements to be covered in an SEO site audit?
I think that there are more than enough checklists out there about the technical components of what needs to go into an SEO Site Audit, so I'm not going to cover those.
A lot of people's audits come across my desk and I think the piece that is missing more often than not is context. Not just business context, but also context as to why things matter to SEO. For example, you shouldn't just say "you're site has 302s" you have to start with what redirects are and why they matter. Typically when you're doing a Site Audit that needs to be presented or circulated through the hands of many people with varying backgrounds, so they all need to understand what needs to be fixed.
Secondly, you need to establish business value of your recommendations. There are resources that need to be allocated for the work, so create a business case around what you're suggesting is critical to actually seeing them come to fruition.
Finally, the SEO Site Audit itself should be a relatively light document, but it should come with an accompanying spreadsheet that support implementation.
What features do you think are missing in mainstream SEO tools? Are there any processes you'd love to see automated?
I wish more of the SEO tools spoke to each other. There's a bunch of APIs, which generally require you to pay to get the data out, but I like the OpenApps initiatives some of these tools have. I feel like the industry is small and nascent enough that some third party could sit all the tools down and be like "let's all commit to this OpenApps" specification. I think for what things cost, we shouldn't have be do as much Excel work that we do. I'd also like to see more tools crawling headless.