I remember when I first heard the term "Search Engine Optimization" back in 1997 when i was first began my online career. It was a strange kind of concept that you could optimize a web page for a search engine. The idea of configuring your web pages for anyone other that the end user seemed kind of foreign to me.
I remember the limited amount of information that was available on the topic and that for the most part seemed like some sort of vodoo. I remember the endless hours trying to figure out Google's algorithm and living and breathing the information on http://www.wilsonweb.com
It reached its peak with the Google Update tracking and the insane amount of information permeating the web as to what you needed to do get Page Rank and higher ranking. Then came the crazy quest for backlinks, one way, two way, three way.
With the Google Panda update of Spring 2011 that madeness should now be identified for what it was, overthinking the obvious.
Websites are for people. Make them for people and the SE's will follow.
"The realm of consciousness is much vaster than thought can grasp. When you no longer believe everything you think, you step out of thought and see clearly that the thinker is not who you are." Eckhart Tolle
Develop your website for the end user, give them remarkable content that aids in their research. Be very clear about what each page is about and let the SE's do their thing.