Interesting discussion this morning in the Manta Community that got me to thinking (and responding). Apparently there is a section of the population that thinks search engine optimization (SEO) is a scam. Is it? Well I guess it depends on who's doing it and what the expectations are. I mean yes, there are people who say they optimize for search engines and they really don't have a clue but there are just as many who do a very nice job of search optimization.
Then you have to consider that the expectations of the website owner may be far beyond what they should be as far as search engine optimization. They want to be number one for a search term or rank on the first page for just about every term they can think of. These aren't totally realistic.
Consider the purpose of search engines - first and foremost it's to serve the people who are using them to find something. They aren't there for the sake of business competition, but they serve that goal to - in fact that's why search engines got into the business of selling ads, and it's nice bonus that the ads cover the expenses of running the search engine.
The web is in constant evolution. Today search engines are not the end all / be all of marketing online, they are just part of an overall big picture. So it's unrealistic to put "all the eggs" in one basket. That's like having one big customer with nothing else to sustain you if the one customer goes out of business. You'll be left with nothing.
So in response to the comments I wrote this article based on my own experience, research over time and another article I read recently: The Way Search Engine Optimization Should Work
While I don't think this will put an end to the debate over whether or not SEO is dead, or social replaces search or all SEO is a scam it may just give a new way to look at the overall process and get the ideas going on how you can use search engines to your advantage.