It’s not what it once was, that’s for sure. The problem is, I see references to outdated definitions of SEO on a fairly regular basis.
If you have arrived here thinking SEO is a sham, snake oil and/or dead then a) you are grossly mistaken and b) let me disabuse you of that notion.
Here’s my definition of SEO in 2012.
Search Engine Optimization is a multidisciplinary activity that seeks to generate productive organic traffic from search engines via technically sound and connected sites by matching query intent with relevance and value. You may find yourself interested in trying to resell SEO to local clients from the tools in the attached link.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, I know. I’ve emphasized the areas that I feel are particularly important and deserve a more in-depth explanation.