Importance of rankings?
According to me, rankings = visibility; which means that if you are not ranking, you are not visible and hence you stand to lose out on getting organic traffic to your website. Google's update of having the 4th paid ad has already reduced CTRs for organic search results which make it all the more important that we rank higher on SERPs.
Favourite Ranking Strategies?
My approach is to first make your website as SEO friendly as possible from a technical standpoint i.e. ensure your URL structure, website load time, content placement, content visibility to crawlers, breadcrumb navigation, footer links etc. are all good. Post this, the focus should be to generate content that your audience is most likely to consume. It helps in improving keyword rankings, as search engines find a lot of related content on the website plus internal linking helps in improving the internal link structure. Additionally, this could also be shared on social platforms where your audience is engaging with you.
Elements to be covered in SEO site audit?
The 1st I would say is the taxonomy of the website. It is very important to have a proper structure to ensure all category, sub-category and bridging pages are present so that keywords can be properly mapped and targeted. The 2nd would be content visibility - while most websites add content, many times, it is added in a way that this content is not visible/crawlable by search engines i.e. it is as good as having no content on the website and the 3rd would be to look at crawling stats i.e. there are no crawl errors on the website, which will ensure a good crawl efficiency. In addition to this, it is also very important to do a thorough backlink audit to ensure anything bad done in the past should not haunt us later.
Your Dream Feature not present in current SEO tools?
As of 2016, you can find tools for almost everything that you need. What I would still want, would be a tool that would help me seamlessly crawl websites; currently, the available tools crash if you try crawling a website which has over a 100,000 pages. The other automation (I really wish this was possible) would be something that could help me get a good quality back links without all that manual work.