SEO and Marketing
There is a considerable sized body of practitioners of SEO who see search engines as just another visitor to a site, and try to make the site as accessible to those visitors as to any other who would come to the pages. They often see the white hat/black hat dichotomy mentioned above as a false dilemma. The focus of their work isn't primarily to rank the highest for certain terms in search engines, but rather to help site owner's fullfill the business objectives of their sites. Indeed, ranking well for a few terms among the many possibilities does not guarantee more sales. A successful Internet marketing
campaign may drive organic search results to pages, but it also may involve the use of paid advertising on search engines and other pages, building high quality web pages to engage and persuade, addressing technical issues that may keep search engines from crawling and indexing those sites, setting up analytics programs to enable site owners to measure their successes, and making sites accessible and usable.
SEOs may work in-house for an organization, or as consultants, and search engine optimization may be only part of their daily functions. Often their education of how search engines function come from interacting and discussing the topics on forums, through blogs, at popular conferences and seminars, and by experimentation on their own sites. There are few college courses that cover online marketing from an ecommerce perspective that can keep up with the changes that the web sees on a daily basis.
While endeavoring to meet the guidelines posted by search engines can help build a solid foundation for success on the web, such efforts are only a start. Many see search engine marketing as a larger umbrella under which search engine optimization fits, but it's possible that many who focused primarily on SEO in the past are incorporating more and more marketing ideas into their efforts, including public relations strategy and implementation, online display media buying, web site transition SEO, web trends data anaylsis, HTML E-mail campaigns, and business blog consulting making SEO firms more like an ad agency.