Yahoo appears to be throwing its hat in the search engine optimization (SEO) ring with a patent which has the potential to rewrite text on a third-party site to optimize it for popular search terms.

The patent application, which was filed in June 2007 and published last month, is called "Automated System to Improve Search Engine Optimization on Web Pages" and is an attempt from Yahoo to help some sites increase their traffic based on the search habits of users.

According to Bill Slawski of SEO By The Sea, that misses the real point of search engine optimization (SEO).

"[SEO is] about understanding the objective of a site, and knowing enough about an audience that might be interested in what that site offers to help those searchers and those sites find each other," he says. "That can involve finding the right words to use on the pages of a site instead of the most popular words."

Slawaski also points out that there may be some conflict of interest if a search engine is also performing search engine optimization (SEO).