I’ll explain. Search engine optimization is something anyone can do. You can read up on it, learn how to manage the elements of on-page and off-page optimization, do keyword research and link building management. You can do all of that. But SHOULD you? Probably not.
If you do not have a dedicated resource in-house that can devote their entire focus to keeping you ranked, out-source it. There are too many changes to consider. Google, for instance, has made some drastic updates (1 and 2) in the past year that have totally changed the game. There are hundreds of elements that affect the ranking and even those change all the time.
Don’t bother trying to do this in-house, even as a large company. You’re in business because you are awesome at what you do or what you have to sell. Find a local partner that can learn your business, figure out how to work with your company, respond to your requests, meet with you to show you results, and someone you can trust. Their (our) job is to make you happy and get you results. If you don’t have a good experience, move right on – there are LOTS of SEO companies to choose from these days.
Many try to bring SEO in-house to save the cost as you can just “tack that on” to someone’s other responsibilities. Bad move. Even at a fraction of their salary, you are over-spending. You can our-source SEO help for hundreds a month (starting).
One added item of consideration is thinking through what you’re going to DO with these people who have now found you…but that’s a different post.