DanAbbamont - 12:57 am on Apr 6, 2011 (gmt 0)
Great post. I have to say though, any good "SEO company" should be doing all of these things. A SEO consultant doesn't necessarily have to be an expert in your vertical, but they should have the skills to research the vertical extensively and create a custom plan. He should also be able to utilize the expertise of employees of his client, seeing content and link opportunities and putting them to work.
I don't believe in worrying about footprints, but I do believe in keeping things natural. Do what makes sense for the end user and you'll be on the right track. That means useful content and information architecture that makes sense for the end user.
For links, just concentrate on editorial links. There are always non-editorial links that are easy to build up in bulk, but the engineers at Google know about these and they hope to someday devalue them. We saw it with reciprocal links, the addition of nofollow and most recently you saw the article sites get hit.