At SEOmoz, we find ourselves pleasantly surprised day after day by the array of high-quality SEOs that make our industry such a wonderful place to be. Unfortunately, the time finally came where we had to ask ourselves the nagging questions looming over our industry: where was all this negative noise coming from? Had we been missing a widely accepted fact in the SEO world? And, most importantly, was the current state of SEO really as awful as some were making it seem? There was only one way to find out. Inspired by a post highlighting the "sad state" of today's SEO consultants, we decided to conduct a survey of our own to determine the true, calculated quality of SEOs in 2012. Similar to the Webmaster World member whose less-than-awesome exchange with various SEO consultants sparked this hot debate, we chose to reach out to real, third-party SEO companies for advice on how to improve rankings to collect our data. But we wanted to do it bigger.