There is an interesting article by Dean Phillips I ran across that has a contrarian view on search engine optimizing. Or, as the author would probably say, search engine pandering.
In the author's view, Google is a trap ("Why are so many people falling into the trap of optimizing their website's to cater to Google's ever- changing algorithms?"), Dmoz naps ("I've heard and read countless horror stories about DMOZ taking 9 months to a year or more to add new sites to their directory...") and Yahoo is full of crap ("Why, why, why would anyone want to just hand over their money to Yahoo! that way, without any type of guarantee?"). Here's the conclusion reached by the author:
If you only remember one thing from this article, remember this: DO NOT DEPEND SOLELY ON SEARCH ENGINES FOR YOUR TRAFFIC! Find alternative ways to attract traffic to your website. If you're fortunate enough to achieve a high search engine ranking, consider it a bonus. But DO NOT MAKE THE SEARCH ENGINES A PRIORITY!