There are many, many SEO techniques out there today. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. One thing that has not changed is the willingness of webmasters or so called "SEO specialists, to try to trick search engines.
It's only natural that when a challenge is placed in front of some, they must overcome that challenge. The challenge here is how to get to the top of the search engine with your keyword. Most search engines have put methods in place to give the most relevant answer to your search query. So, it's not fair if you use that against them. For example, you have a websites selling "wonder soap" but you use keywords like "paris hilton." All just to get that traffic search to your website. Maybe someone will buy it anyway.
Well, the search engines & me & you don't think that's fair. I want whatever search I've asked for to give me the most relevant websites that might have an answer for me. Because, keep in mind, I'm searching for other websites through a Website. A search engine website. I want to save time, not find 2 million irrelevant results.
So, you see the challenges. It becomes a cycle of sorts. Hence, the creation of the SEO specialist & firms. A whole new industry forms.
True SEO is making sure your website follows basic logical parameters. BE RELEVANT.
Tools that are questionable are Page generators & Cloaking software.
Page generators do just that, make web pages. Lot's of them. Early generators made lot's of the same pages just to have bulky websites. They had the same content over & over again. Generators today work much better. They have relevant content. Lot's of different content. Lot's & lot's of keywords. And they all point to your main page.
Page cloaking software makes webpages invisible to people but not to search engines. There are lot's keyword pages with very little content and are meant to trick the search engines into thinking you have more relevant webpages than you actually have.
Cloaking is frowned upon by search engines. If you read the fine print on Yahoo, etc. you'll find it's all there in black & white.
Page generators, however, walk a fine line. They can be used abusively or used as a time saver. An ethical SEO specialist will use this software to create RELEVANT, CONTENT RICH, web pages. A reasonable amount. Not thousands of irrelvant keyword pages just pointing to your main web site.
So, is there a difference. Yes. But, more importantly, there is is the difference in how the are used.
Be wise. Go for the long term, ethical success. Stick with the organic, logical, ethical, fair, & practical methods.