Both Calacanis and Pasternack agree that the effects of ethical SEO are good. They also agree that things like page design and site structure are good. Most SEOs would agree with those points as well. Where they disagree is whether those additional disciplines are part of SEO.
John Andrews today wrote about this issue today in a post called "The Secret Side of SEO." Andrews differentiates technical, on-page SEO from more strategic SEO tactics, which he calls "competitive webmastering."
"'Strategic SEO' is not SEO at all, but competitive webmastering, which uses SEO tactics. The same is true for 'optimized SEM' and the newer 'social media optimization.' They are tactics, which must be executed within a plan that has goals and objectives," he writes.
He also expands on a discussion with online marketer Natasha Robinson, who was having trouble explaining to an engineer that SEO is about more than just getting more pages indexed.
"If you are still working to get your client's sites fully indexed in Google (or worse, still paying an SEO 'firm' to get all of your pages indexed), I'm sorry to hear of your continued inability to get SEO and the web. It doesn't matter so much how many of your pages are indexed, but it matters which of your pages are indexed and whether or not they are indexed such that they appear in the right SERPs for your business objectives," Andrews writes.
Andrews finishes off the post with "6 Things Your SEO Firm May Not Have Told You," which is filled with tips on what is, and is not, important to include in your SEO/competitive webmastering strategy.