I'll admit upfront that SEO seems tedious and that I've never really gotten very deep into all of the tricks and techniques and their implementation. I managed to achieve some success with my two old sites by simply generating content, submitting to obvious news sites in the field, using Drupal's clean URLs.. not really much more than that, albeit it took a while.

Today and in the coming years what search engines find important and rank well increasingly coincides with what is simple common sense: natural, social and "organic", the stuff that's almost a no-brainer for honest people looking to truly provide value to their users or customers. It's becoming less and less about having the site optimized with a bunch of tricks and more about simply being genuine. The more genuine you are the better you fare.

So what's the point of SEO then if all it will increasingly be telling you is to just be natural. It's all essentially comin down to this statement: "If you want your site to be optimized, don't optimize!" The sentiment is that you shouldn't try to somehow trick the engines into paying you more attention than any given human being remotely interested in what you're offering would.

Am I assessing the direction right? Does SEO have any other role in this kind of future aside from simply telling you to be yourself and essentially deprogramming you from this tendency to "optimize"?

Or should SEO today more precisely be called "SEM" or Search Engine Marketing meaning not that you're marketing to search engines, but you're marketing through search engines, using them as a medium and a tool to see what the market wants (assessing demand) and thus what you should offer - essentially keyword research. All of the keyword optimization come down to what seem like marketing no brainers that don't necessarily have much to do with SE's.. use keywords in titles, be relevant, be emotionally charging (linkbaits) etc.. (And "links" are in fact nothing but references, words of mouth, quite analogous to offline marketing).

What do you think?