How we got our SEO clicks from 1 to 1200 a day

Me and my co-founder started a content website back in 2020. Right now it is only (or already) 15 months old. It's in Polish so the audience isn't international. And the competition is very dense.

We knew from the beginning that SEO will be the most important source of users for our website. But SEO takes quite a lot of time before you see the results. You can see that on the chart.

The screenshot below comes from our analytics app - Raport

The website is great in terms of speed according to PageSpeedInsights. You can check it out here. This allowed us to rank quite good despite having little to none backlinks.

Unfortunately we are hundreds of thousands backlinks short compared to the biggest players. This doesn't give us any chance to rank for most popular keywords. But we do get more and more traffic from long tail keywords and some from the brand name as well.

We managed to get backlinks from almost 150 domains. And the majority was just us posting links on different forums etc.

For anyone starting with SEO I would higly recommend to go for long-tail keywords. Pay attention to your website's performance on PageSpeedInsights. This really makes a huge difference. And also try to get as many backlinks as you can. I wouldn't recommend buying links. But don't neglect them as it's basically impossible to rank if you don't have any backlinks. That's the harsh reality of SEO.

And if you hesitate whether to go for SEO or not - definitely do. We get around 75% of traffic from Google Search and another 2,2% from Bing Search. It's worth the effort but requires patience.

  1. 2

    Thanks for sharing! Curious to know how you map out or plan your SEO strategy from a high level. I've read that the best ranking sites have a large web of inter-connected content — referring and linking to other areas of their site where relevant. Is that true of your site? And do you have any tips on that front?

    1. 2

      Thank you for this question!

      We have quite a lot of inter-connected content. We did an experiment some time ago and placed links to some pages of our website below the header. The result was that these pages actually rank higher. We compared them with other pages and they did not improve that much.

      The tip for easy and good internal linking is tagging your content based on relevancy. That way you not only connect content but also create new pages for each tag. We managed to position some of the "tag pages" to fairly high position. Which is impressive considering that in some cases page title is just a single phrase.

      1. 1

        That's very interesting, thanks for the insight! We had actually heard some advice that adding tags could hurt our overall SEO performance — I can't remember the exact logic behind this, though.

        A key focus of ours will be to make sure all of our content is interconnected (where relevant). Hoping that with a smart approach we can see strong growth like your site by this time next year! Feel free to check us out — https://www.outdone.io — if you're interested!

        1. 1

          Hmm, I haven’t heard that tagging can hurt SEO. It didn’t happen in my case but maybe it did happen in someone else’s. I believe it may also depend on the type of content a certain website has.

          I checked out your website. I like the idea of showing value through the short questioner about the gifter.

          And I see you’ve got plenty of articles and you make the most out of your topic. How do your articles perform in terms of SEO? Do any of them rank high enough to generate visitors?

          1. 1

            Interesting, maybe I misinterpreted something about tagging.

            Thanks for checking it out! For now we only receive negligible traffic from those articles. Most are ranking in the 40-80 range. We occasionally have some jump into the 20s, but never any higher yet. I understand that this requires a lot of lead time, though — and we really only started producing content and submitting our sitemaps in the past couple of months.

            Our current strategy is going after moderate volume, low competition keywords in the gifting space.

            1. 2

              Sounds familiar to me. But you seem to be committed so you will get past this difficult time and SEO will start bringing traffic.

              The strategy you mentioned is very good. Do that and I hope you will get better results. Also remember about the damn backlinks. I know it's hard but also very important. With the content you have maybe you will get some mentions on other websites.

              1. 2

                Thank you, sir! I appreciate the insight.

  2. 1

    Great achievement @Krzciński_Wojtek Congratulations!

  3. 1

    Thanks for sharing your insights! Very helpful. I have also started the SEO journey recently for my app - https://squaredeal.tax . We started putting up content a year ago. We are now getting a handful of visits a week. Though we have 30+ articles, Google seems to like only 3-4 of them.

    Agree on the PSI score. My tech stack for the main site is React and for the blog its Gatsby, hosted with AWS Amplify and behind Cloudflare.

    I was struggling initially with PSI score - could barely manage 30-40. Then addressed CLS, TTI a bit and also used some optimisations like chunking. But the biggest gain we got was by using Prerender.io. PSI score went upto 98. Then I put a live chat widget and the score came down to 85+.

    Do your content use structured data? How important do you think it's for SERP?

    1. 1

      You have a lot of articles which is great. What do you mean that Google liked these articles? Do you get a lot of traffic? How high do they rank?

      We use structured data a bit. We also used it when we created a website for a local medical clinic. From our experience it is another piece of SEO that it's good to have. It definitely helps Google recognize what the website is about. And this helps with your ranking. Right now I don't remember how much it helped. And we probably didn't measure it alone but we read that it helps and I believe it does.

      1. 1

        Hi @Krzciński_Wojtek, of late, Google is placing a handful of our articles on 1st and 2nd pages. What surprises me is that these pages do not have structured data. Hence, I was trying to find if there is any correlation. The only correlation I noticed is that the search terms seem to match the article heading and the url.

        1. 2

          Matching search terms with your url and especially heading is super important. I think structured data will improve your articles' ranking even further. Try adding it and see how it goes.

  4. 1

    Well done! Perhaps you've already done this (I can't speak Polish) but have you tried targeting competitor keywords (such as "Google Analytics vs X", "X alternatives", etc)?

    1. 2

      Thank you! We haven't done exactly things like "Google Analytics vs X", "X alternatives", etc. because it's not relevant in our case. But we did target some keywords that our competitors rank for.

      We plan to write articles with titles like "X alternatives" for Raport as it's definitely relevant for SaaS.

  5. 1

    Thanks for sharing this, I'm curious about the technology that you used to achieve such page speed.

    • What tech stack do you use?
    • Do you cache pages with Cloudfare of similar solution?
    1. 3

      Hey, I made this website with @Krzciński_Wojtek and were responsible for tech.

      Over the year we've made couple of iterations with different techs to get this results. First version was build using next.js, but it had too high LCP and FCP to be considered fast by Google. It's a great framework but needed too many unnecessary requests and client side rendering.

      Right now we use node.js server with express to generate HTML templates and use vanilla JS on the client. Size of the client size scripts really matters to Google and getting rid of React was a great improvement.

      Caching is really important. We used Cloudflare for a while, but It wasn't perfect. It helped us save bandwidth, but for important requests somehow it increased time to first byte. All our users are located in one country and we didn't needed globally distributed caching. I made simple cacheing system using Redis, to reduce response times and we are hosting it on VPS close to our users.

      It wasn't easy to get to 100. To do that you need to improve and optimize many parts of the system that you would not normally consider. I will probably write a short article about it in the near future.

      1. 1

        Thanks, this is extremely helpful to me. I was indeed wondering if you were using Next.js, it's also interesting that you've been iterating the technology until finding the perfect solution. I'm running my side-project on Next.js and I am also targeting a specific country for my business (the Netherlands) and I am having the same issues that you mention (among other things)

        P.D. I'll be interested in reading a article if you decide to write more about this topic :D

  6. 1

    Hey Wojtek,

    Amazing job on getting the PageSpeed part done so well. It's really important and occasionally a pretty hard task!

    Could you please elaborate a little bit more on you posting links on different forums and websites? Was there any strategy for this or just "spray and pray" kind of a tactic? how did you approach this?

    EDIT: Just inspected your website via ahrefs - a couple nice nuggets of advice from there:

    -> Starting a public telegram channel will give dofollow links from a high DA website
    -> Same with twitch, nice link from high DA
    -> Linktree is pretty nice too in this regard

    1. 1

      Thank you! The PageSpeedInsights part is actually @jkbl's achievement. He's a programmer, I'm the marketer.

      To answer your question about links. We used Ahrefs to find backlinks for our competitors. Then with an exported list of these websites we started looking for places where it's easy to post a link. Of course we began with websites with highest authority scores and do follow links.
      Then it was basically "spray and pray". But some links managed to survive and Google Search Console shows 147 linking domains. Ahrefs shows as much as 321 referring domains but I guess Google is the one that counts.

      Thank you for an inspection! According to Search Console we have backlinks from Twitch and Linktree. We don't have a link from Telegram though. We started a public Telegram channel in February but Google didn't index that link. If you have any tips on how to make Google index that link, let me know.

      1. 1

        Thanks for the tips.

        Interesting situation with the Telegram indexing. On ahrefs it showed that you've got a nice dofollow link. Just done the same for my own urls and I'll have a look on what gets and indexed and what doesn't (might take some time though). Maybe the robots.txt settings on Telegram are different?

        1. 1

          Telegram is not the only one but it's an interesting case. As I mentioned, Ahrefs shows 321 backlinks while Search Console 147. It makes the backlinks part of the game even more challenging.

  7. 1

    Thanks for sharing this. What is your Authority Score right now?

    1. 3

      It depends on the source:

      • according to Moz: 14
      • according to Ahrefs: 19
      • and according to Semrush: 38

      I've read that Moz has the most relevant metric but you never know for sure unless you're Google.

      1. 2

        Well, I guess it makes sense when comparing these numbers to competitors and other websites on a given platform.

        1. 1

          That's true. It is one of good ways to compare your website with competitors.
          Generally speaking I would say that these SEO tools are great help when trying to rank in Google. They are just too expensive to use for small websites. We tried free trials and if we had money, we would probably buy access to one of them.
          But you can download a ton of keyword suggestions while you are on a free trial.

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