Over the years I've seen so many disconnects and underutilization of SEO and content creation, which made brands lose money. As an SEO Services subject-matter expert and enthusiast, it was hard to not take personally so many claims that SEO was bunk science and didn't work; yet when I'd probe, I'd realize the person saying that never implemented all the recommendations their SEO vendor provided.
Marketers have to remember that the effort for effective SEO is just about 50/50, client to vendor, unlike the 20/80 paid search or social media split, where you can turn ads on and immediately be running programs pretty easily. SEO requires constant cooperation with IT and ongoing implementation. It's best suited to be an undercurrent of each marketing discipline so that all things work together. SEO is no longer just a website thing; it requires coordination and optimization of all your owned media online and even offline.
From what I've seen, the traditional SEO process is no longer suitable to address each of the areas that are required for wholistic SEO optimization. Additionally, clients still don't understand how absolutely critical it is to implement recommendations. It's extremely website-driven (which is still needed), but it doesn't account for all the nonwebsite optimization opportunities that offer additional ways to boost brand organic performance in the ways of consumer traffic, engagement, and even sales.
Furthermore, it does not hold the client accountable for their 50 percent, providing input along the way and implementing all recommendations. Now, not all recommendations can always be implemented. It's the SEO expert's job to articulate which recommendations are the highest priority and can provide the best return on investment. The new SEO process should be much more comprehensive and wholistic and address all website and off-website-brand website assets.