Lets say you just created a new website. Even if you are laser focused in a specific niche, with unique content and proper on page optimization it will be difficult to get ranked.
This is due to the emphasis on back links making it difficult for new sites. Backlinks seems to be what propels you to the front page of google. Unless you have a pre-existing network to do some guest blogging, ask for backlinks etc. it can be difficult to get quality backlinks to get your site, especially when you are new.
Let me know if I am off base here, I am just trying to understand SEO better but it seems to be difficult. I am doing SEO for my own local business, and its still taking plenty of effort to rank.