Crafting Purpose-focused Food & Lifestyle Brands

Small Nonprofit Earns Top SEO In 6 Months


One of the best parts of our work is measuring results. It is really rewarding to watch a small business grow by using the tools we’ve built for them. One such case is our client DiveWise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing freediver accidents through safety education and awareness. A short while ago, the DiveWise website was non-existent in search engine rankings. Unless a user typed in the keywords “DiveWise”, the website couldn’t be found. Today, a mere six months later, DiveWise.org has achieved nonprofit SEO marketing success and ranks in the Top 10 for five key search terms and three of those they have nabbed the #1 and #2 spots. Go team!

  • Freediving Safety             #1
  • Freediving Education       #2
  • Freediving Accidents       #6
  • Freediver Blackout          #2
  • Freediver Recovery Vest #9, #10

DiveWise founder, Julie Richardson, launched her organization in 2008 after the near-fatal freediving accident of her two oldest sons. If you are a spearfisher, freediver, snorkeler or simply someone who holds their breath in the pool, I urge you to check out the DiveWise.org website. She has built a wealth of information about breath-hold diving, the inherent risks, and the simple safety protocols that can prevent a fatal accident.

Julie connected with me through LinkedIn last October and requested help rejuvenating her brand. She was well-connected in her industry and had worked steadily to create awareness of her cause through media interviews, public speaking events, trade shows and magazine articles. An accomplished writer, Julie had exactly what it takes to enter the content marketing fray – compelling information and a talent for conveying stories.

DiveWise website viewed on computer monitor screenOur journey began with a discovery session and strategic road map for 2014. From there, Julie decided her first priority was to overhaul her website and create a look and feel that would be more attractive to an expanding audience, while giving her a better platform for sharing content. By using a content marketing strategy, we developed a website that is able to grow with the DiveWise organization and the plethora of content that Julie shares with her audience. Using a WordPress CMS platform with nonprofit SEO marketing that we built-in, DiveWise received a cost-effective, yet powerful website. On February 21, 2014 the new website launched and Julie began experimenting with blogging to drive traffic and awareness to her site. Over the next several months traffic grew steadily as Julie promoted her blogs on Facebook.

In June, we decided to add DiveWise to Wikipedia while updating some key terms and data on freediving. This turned out to be just the nudge that DiveWise needed to gain a high quality referring domain that pushed qualified traffic to the DiveWise.org site. As spearfishing season came into full swing, Julie continued to blog and Wikipedia began to send qualified users to the site, DiveWise.org experienced an enormous spike in Site Visitor traffic.


DiveWise Google Site Visitor Rankings


It is important to note that site visitor traffic has dropped in tandem with the effects of seasonality. It is a benchmark that DiveWise plans to address with future content that is less vulnerable to seasonal fluctuation.




As the search engines picked up on DiveWise’s steadily growing content, plus inbound and outbound links, DiveWise suddenly began appearing on page 2 or 3 of key searches. By the following month, DiveWise had captured top-ranking positions and organic search outpaced all other referring channels.

DiveWise Top Channels Feb_Sep 2014


Direct referrals have steadily declined, while social and referred sites have shifted back and forth depending on DiveWise’s content produced each month and related social media promotion strategy.





The secret to success  is the combination of the following content marketing principles:

  1. CONTENT MARKETING WEB DESIGN. This means that the website is designed as a platform for publishing content. More than a website “design” which is attractive and has a marketing message, a content marketing website is a publishing platform where a brand and its audience engage with each other through the strategic use of videos, articles, blogs, surveys, and other forms of content dialogue.
  2. SEO INTEGRATED INTO WEB DESIGN. Search engine optimization should be an intentional part of the web design. Upfront, a keyword strategy should be in place and the content should thoughtfully include these terms, a SEO tool such as Yoast SEO should be in use, etc. If you are not familiar with solid SEO principles, check out the MOZ SEO beginners guide from SEO experts, MOZ.
  3. CONSISTENT PUBLISHING OF CONTENT. One blog post every six months isn’t going to attract the attention of an audience, nor the search engines. To be successful, content should be added on a regular basis. We use the formula 1-7-30-4-2-1, which is a simple reminder of how to create a solid and successful publishing schedule. You can read more about this game-changing concept in our Content Marketing Secrets Part III blog post.
  4. HIGH QUALITY LINKING STRATEGY. It’s always a compliment when friends and family offer to link to your site. However, to get search engine attention a website needs links to and from high quality, well-respected and high-traffic sites such as chambers of commerce, government websites, wikipedia, news media, etc.
  5. MEASUREMENT. Sign up and USE Google Analytics. It’s easy. It’s free. And it will tell you a lot about what is going on with your site. It’s great to see a lot of traffic, yet what is the bounce rate? And if the bounce rate is low, what is the average time on site? Are you enticing your audience to come to your site, sit down and stay awhile or is your content simply attracting curiosity without making the sale?

What is beautiful about the DiveWise story is the organization already had a compelling message, they simply needed a more effective method for telling that story on a grand stage. Prior to working with us, Julie was making headway, yet progress was slow and sometimes frustrating. Today, Julie is energized by the direct connection she is making with her audience and her renewed passion is seen in the remarkable results her tiny organization is achieving. While still far from the nonprofit big leagues, Julie is satisfied that her mission of saving lives is amplified through the effective use of content marketing. Now every drop of effort she adds to the pool has a tremendous ripple effect that she, and her followers, can see.