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.