If you are hiring an SEO firm or agency to handle your search engine optimization, does that mean you can skate by without any knowledge of SEO? You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Look at any organization where a supervisor oversees the work of people under him/her and you will notice that the supervisor more than likely started where those he supervises started. If not, then he or she started in a similar position. They have the knowledge and skills to perform the tasks that those they supervise perform on a daily basis.
Where this is often not true is in areas of supervision where the supervisor is required to have a college degree but no direct experience performing the tasks of the job. In those cases, the company hiring is looking for management skills and experience.
Here’s the point: If you hire an SEO agency, you’ll be the supervisor. Your job is to make sure they do their job. If you don’t know any SEO, how will you be able to effectively ensure that your SEO agency does what it’s suppose to do?
Now, I’m not saying you have to be an SEO expert. Your agency will be the expert. But you should have some knowledge of SEO. You should know the basics, just enough to ask the right questions of the agency before you hire them and to know when you are getting good SEO advice versus the bad advice that often gets shared by low-cost providers with little or no experience.
Long story short, you don’t have to be an SEO expert when you hire an agency to handle your SEO needs, but you should have some understanding of the basics.