tedster - 6:25 pm on Aug 19, 2012 (gmt 0)
The assumption I see is not that "all SEO is spam", but that multiple tweaks after the time of publication are a POSSIBLE spam signal. Google is doing everything they can to focus a site on its visitors rather than on Google itself.
In earlier days, I certainly made regular tweaks just to see how Google would respond - and I definitely did not think of myself as a spammer. But it also became clear that Google didn't like the idea (something I could appreciate).
There were also too many benefits to be had from focusing resources directly on the visitors. As I saw it, a new day was on us. My attempts at reverse engineering a more and more complex algorithm were not going to have a long shelf life. In fact, reverse engineering was no longer a way to "optimize" at all because the results were not "optimal".
Although it's not mentioned in the patent, regular tweaking of title elements is clearly another way to trigger these randomized ranking changes. And we've had quite a few threads here reporting exactly that effect.
Many people who have been at the SEO game for a while have noticed this shift - but we also have members here who are relatively new to the game and they are often trying ideas that are many years out of date. I'm glad Bill S. put a spotlight on this patent. It should especially help folks appreciate the importance of not buying into old information.