SEO as a proxy
More often than not, an obsessive focus on SEO obscures the view of true goals. This is down to the fact that the goals associated with the SEO efforts are usually a proxy of something else.
I like how Seth Godin puts it:
Once you find the simple proxy and decide to make it go up, there are lots of available tactics that have nothing at all to do with improving the very thing you set out to achieve in the first place. When we fall in love with a proxy, we spend our time improving the proxy instead of focusing on our original (more important) goal instead.
Gaming the system is never the goal. The goal is the goal.