Do search engine companies like Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves respect, recognize and like search engine optimization companies? This topic is created at one forum or an other on almost a monthly basis. I do not think I ever discussed it here, so I thought I would give it a shot.
Let me first start with an historical perspective (at least my understanding of how it was early on). Early on search engine companies did not know that there were SEO companies out there. Actually, "SEO" was not even an acronym used back then. Then as the search engine caught on to people abusing the meta tags and white text tricks, search engines and SEO companies were at odds. The search engines at first did not recognize the SEO company. They pitched them as scam artists that did not benefit the industry. Over time and thanks to the popularization of the industry, search engines began to come face to face with SEO firms.
Now we have a level of understanding. There are basic guidelines issued by search engines as to acceptable practices. Search engines in fact now request SEOs to encourage common practice amongst their client sites. Search engines want to find good content and SEOs help. If a site is in Flash and an SEO is onboard, the SEO might create an HTML alternative. That is good for the searcher, which is good for the search engines.
Since the channels of communication between search engines and SEOs are more open (thanks to sites like WebmasterWorld and SearchEngineWatch), there is a better understanding of each other's goals and objectives. Both make compromises and share information. We are heading from the "respect" phase (some might argue we are not there yet) to the "like" phase. I believe there is a common and understood respect between the search engine companies and search engine optimization professionals. We are now moving towards a deep gratitude and liking of each other's objectives.
Current forum discussion at SearchEngineWatch Forums.