SHOULD YOU OPTIMIZE YOUR WEB SITE?All websites require some level of optimization. A website that is totally un-optimized is unlikely to get found except for perhaps on a search for the companies own name on the website. At the very least, every site should have good meta tags and quality content including the correct density of keywords and text with context to the products or services that are being marketed. Search engine optimization includes on site changes, off site requirements (like backlink votes), social media marketing and a good understanding of ones competitors, geographic catchment and priorities of products or services.
Search engine algorithms change frequently. Google does over 500 algorithm changes per year and major shifts like Google's Panda and Penguin updates continue to flow over the year, rather than just days or months. It is a daunting task to read and anticipate these changes and understand or even preempt the impacts on your site. In fact most good SEO firms have test bed sites and conduct regular patent reviews, in addition to keeping a sharp eye on web site changes to glean what may be coming down the pipe and by testing new site attribute changes that benefit placement. You could write a book on this ... but the problem is, things are changing so fast that the book would be out of date in short order.
Search engine optimization is not something that you typically learn well in a classroom environment. Most top Canadian University programs with Information Science programs are teaching search engine marketing techniques that are well out of date. So to be clear, the only way to really learn SEO is to get your hands dirty and do it hands on in a very intense way OR hire a company with the demonstrated expertise to do it for you.
For most companies the cost of having their own internal resources to focus of search engine marketing full time makes it prohibitive. You don't have to look very far to see plenty of websites owned by big brand companies that have terrible placement mostly because they have standard IT staff or agencies trying to do specialized search engine marketing work while lacking the hands on experience. Smart businesses outsource their SEO work on fixed priced contracts and they select their SEO company based on proven performance and experience rather than their connections to ad agencies. Search engine listings are very telling and measurable so it doesn't take to much work to weed out the few good search engine marketing companies from the hundreds of bad ones. Most good SEO companies will not cold call you on the telephone or conduct mass email campaigns or phony messages that include canned site reviews. They don't need to because they have a lineup of customers.
So the answer is yes - you should optimize your web site and you should have it professionally done. An optimized web site will bring you exponentially more traffic and you will do more business as a result. It is a low cost high return investment for most companies. It should be part of every marketing budget. The cost rarely exceeds a 5% marketing cost and the ongoing marketing cost of optimization work generally declines as the fundamentals get taken care of and placement takes hold.
Never underestimate how much business comes off the web - even most of those phone calls, emails and direct orders for the most part were initiated by web search! Good SEO companies will keep up date with the search engine algorithm changes and can keep your site out of trouble by avoiding "black hat" quick fix SEO techniques.