This particular thread hit home this week. One of the forum members asks whether or not its part of the SEO's responsiblities to just obtain high rankings or help clients improve their business. One my favorite parts of being an SEO is the different hats ( and I don't mean colored ones) that we can wear to allow us to have a diversity of skills and knowledge to assist in the clients business growth, whatever needs they may be. Are you concerned with success of the business after the optimization? After talking with several clients and multiple friends this week I tried to explain that high rankings don't always mean high profits for their websites. I explained to them ways they need to change the layout or structure in order to accomodate the visitors behaviors better, obtain a great web analytic tool, and some visitor feedback. Because just sticking a website up and directing traffic to it, doesn't mean its not always going to convert! I have found affiliate sites in particular are quite good at converting visitors, and likely so they usually have to be experts in the area to capitalize on all the free traffic (while it lasts). If you find yourself with loads of free search engine traffic, but are not pulling more than a couple of sales today or none. It might be worth it to check out this thread at High Rankings.
Forum coverage on Rankings Vs Conversions, The real debate