So building a moderate amount of backlinks and optimizing meta tags won't get you banned.
"Optimizing" meta tags actually won't do anything. Google has never bothered using meta keywords and description for ranking. All the other major engines stopped in the late 90s or early 00s.
Building organic backlinks and actually having valuable content
are the best way to do well, and this is what Google is trying to encourage.
So unless you're using black hat SEO methods you really don't have anything to worry about.
I'd worry about over-applying "white hat" tactics too. Basically, if your "SEO tricks" are the only reason you're ranking high on search terms, you're likely to drop as the penalties start rolling out and being refined. If you have good content, then you should be fine or even see a boost as the less-worthy sites drop down.