Yesterday, Google released a video with Matt Cutts answering the question Does Google consider SEO to be spam?
Matt Cutts, the head of Google's web spam team, said out right, no. He said, "We don't consider SEO to be spam."
Here is the video:
In a Google + post by Matt Cutts, he said he made a "definitive" video on this. He told SEOs, "SEOs, feel free to point people to this video if you hear someone claim that all SEOs are shady or sell snake oil."
He doesn't go as far to say that ALL SEOs are not spammers, but there are plenty of good SEOs out there that do not spam.
Forum discussion at Google +.