SEO vs Hygiene
SEO is increasingly wrecking the web.
Most SEO as it is increasingly being practiced today is making the web far, far worse. When it comes to search, it's good and valuable to do the little, but important things well. Clean up your page titles, include good metadata, have a nice navigable information architecture, meaningful headers, pretty urls, etc., etc., etc. I consider this the online equivalent of brushing your hair and teeth and taking a shower once in a while. It's just basic hygiene, everyone should do it, and it does tend to improve the quality of websites and web content in general.
When it comes to actual search optimization, however, the web is being polluted faster than a rustbelt river in 1969. Linkfarming, linkbaiting, pointless endless article syndication, websites laden with random Tourette's-like keyword burps, 300px-high footers full of pointless cross links, haphazard video posting, and endless blog comment spam dont serve any user. The top results for any semi-valuable or even 'long-tail' search term are becoming polluted with valueless keyword articles and vacuous affiliate sites (with the occasional wikipedia article sprinkled in). As search becomes increasingly competitive, SEO tactics become increasingly aggressive and obnoxious. Blackhat, whitehat, greyhat, the lines are continually blurred and it doesn't really matter. Let's stick to SEH_. SEO is ruining the web.