The rankings for the following 5 skills come courtesy of the SearchNewz.com's Reader's Choice Search Marketing Resources.
They are, in order.
1. Copywriting (28%) - While this shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, what is suprising is how little value can sometimes be placed on it by both SEO firms, and clients. If you're sourcing an SEO vendor, ask them if they have a copywriter on staff. If the answer is no, move on.
2. Keyword Analysis (14%) - There are myriad free and paid keyword tools on the marketplace but the long and short of it is that the tool brings little or no value unless in capable hands. And the most capable hands would be those of a copywriter (see above) who understands the underlying content and creation strategy and the objectives each step of the way.
3. Marketing Strategy (11%) - There are thought to be 4 P's in marketing. Product. Price. Placement. And Promotion. There are actually 5. People. Too often SEO company's get caught up in creating for the search engines, and interactive agencies get caught up in creating for the accolades. The fifth and forgotten P is by far the most import. People.
4. Web Analytics (11%) - Web analytics are much like user ratings they are the vox populi, the voice of the people presented in pie chart and bar graphic format. But they are much more than that. They tell you what's working and what's not working at all points throughout the customer engagement cycle. Whether for paid for for organic, web analytics present nothing but opportunity. Web analytics have long been in the doman of the skilled SEO consultant or company and should be among the first questions asked from the vendor position. And if a client is not prepared to share analytics reporting, that's when the vendor should pass.
5. Traditional Link Building (8%) - Linking building is a vital role but seemingly a lot less important than many other elements, and now identified as such by those in the industry. Natural link building is a mainstay of SEO and a name change will keep it front and center as an important element in any SEO arsenal. That name change: Influencer Outreach or Vertical or Niche Marketing.
Of 16 skills queried, these were the top five. Patience and diplomacy did not make the list and I have to wonder how they would have ranked?
Have a good one.
~The (SEP) Guy