SEO is NOT rocket science, although it does get more difficult when you get into seriously competitive markets like mortgages etc.
When I say it is not technical, I guess that is a lie, because many of the sites that I work on have commissioned me to carry out a report because of non performance, when it is technical design scripting that is causing the bulk of the issues, non spider friendly coding being the main cluprit.
It owould be wrong to say that SEO is bad, That would be like saying morphine is evil. electricity is evil etc.
Morphine removes suffering from cancer patients and soldiers in the field who have been injured. It is also a heroine substitute that can be misused. Electricity keeps premature babies alive, it also kills murderers in legalised life endings. Morphine, Electricity neither good NOR evil.
there ARE people out there who are selling snake oil. but there are equally gullible greedy people who create the market. I have had people ridicule my rates, telling me that I am ripping off hard working people because they can get the actual SEO done for like $50, when I am charging £250 or £500 for a report, and a couple of £hunderd a month to carry out the SEO.
here is the thing though, I know what I am doing. A client I took on 2 months ago was selling £700 a week in goods, and it was hurting him. Yesterday, he sold £479.58 bringing his sales for the week to a little over £2600 NOW tell me SEO is a con.
ANYONE who has the required level of intelligence can become proficient at SEO. it is NOT a quick learn though, ok for sure you can quickly learn tips and tricks, but to gain a complete understanding of SEO and internat marketing is going to take a fair bit of time.
Finally I would say though that selecting an SEO is a mine field, and you should walk slowly towards it rather than run into it blindly.