SEO is the business of circumventing the proper weighting of search results by "dodgy techniques", it always has been, and always will be.
Nope. SEO also includes designing a site so search engines can find the content (ie, don't hide it in Flash slideshow images), finding what people are searching for, and guiding the creation of content which is relevant to customers and search engines. The owner of the web site might not know that people are searching for "widgets that don't break", and adding a phrase to the description about the strength of the widget can give useful information to both the customer and the search engines.
There is good SEO, and there is evil SEO. Don't do evil SEO.