SEO is a process, and now Lee Odden highlights it for us again with a BusinessWeek reference. But really, SEO as a business is about managing customer expectations more than it is about ranking in the SERPs. And the more you talk about process (instead of rank) the more you are softening the demands on SEO consultants. The case study SEO managed the customer expectations well, and we will never know for sure about those SERPs. And guess what? It doesn’t matter.
The “new SEOs” are all about client expectations, while the “old SEOs” are all about performance. That’s also the root of the black hat/white hat debates, the tin foil hat wearing Google bashers, and the “ethical” whiners. It’s also why top SEOs will continue to work for themselves instead of clients.
Note: If you’re looking for the nastiest bloke in SEO, you’re in the wrong place.