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David Mercer
Works at SME Pals
Attended UNISA
Lives in South Africa
528 followers|38,535 views
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There's a stack of really mediocre instructional clips on everything from writing a business plan, understanding the science of marketing, or improving SEO and ranking higher in Google.

You could probably spend weeks combing through everything, but like most entrepreneurs you probably don't have the time.

That's why I've collected five of the most useful and important YouTube clips to help you get the basics right - especially when it comes to ensuring your business and website get the most from the Internet.
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David Mercer

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Weebly, arguably the world's leading online website builder, recently announced major updates to their eCommerce offering, that includes features like a coupon generator, product options, personalized emails, and more.

And while Weebly makes it quick and easy to build normal websites, how does it compare with leading, hosted shopping cart solutions like Bigcommerce?

This article looks at how powerful, flexible, and easy it is to start selling stuff online using Weebly, and uses Bigcommerce as a benchmark comparison to help you decide which is right for your online store.
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David Mercer

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To be blunt, I don't like advertising online because I generally feel like marketing dollars should be invested in creating great content that has long lasting benefits.

In reality, not every business is well suited to generating large amounts of high quality content that must compete with millions of other content producers to drive traffic.

Content is also subject to the whims and tantrums of Google's search algorithms, so any business that wants to use the Internet as a source of revenue should not rely heavily on organic search traffic.

And, while online advertising has very short-lived benefits, they are at least immediate, and it can be quite exciting to see an advertising campaign driving traffic, and converting it nicely.

Not only that, but if you're really smart, it is possible to derive some decent longer term benefits from advertising campaigns that aren't intended to run continuously.

Let's take a look...
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David Mercer

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Think of the Internet economy as a farmer’s field full of little green plants. Each plant represents a business, and the stuff that makes them grow is traffic (just like rain makes real plants grow).

Now, imagine that in between the rain clouds and our fledgling plants, there is a huge funnel that collects the rain and pours it over the field. Let’s call this funnel Google.

Google’s job is to make sure that all the sprouts get a fair share of water, and that any weeds that are harmful to the ecosystem aren’t watered. All day long Google funnels rain onto various different plants in order to help them grow.

That picture is a fairly good analogy of how the Internet ecosystem operates - with Google acting as the arbiter of what is worthy and unworthy. And, by and large, they do a good job. If they didn’t people would start switching to a different search engine.
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David Mercer

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Page source scraping working wonders in Google search! 

I am currently getting more "hits" from a scraping site that has copied my website's source code (right down to the copyright notice and Google analytics urchin).

You can check out the actual ranking link from the screenshot attached at:

http://www.bekhuis.eu/gellert/james-mayport-stewart-precalculus-6th-edition/

Quality stuff that deserves to outrank the multitude of original content on wsm4b.com, I would say.

Visits to this site show up in my analytics because they have copied the source code which is confusing Google.

They have also copied the canonical URLs, so Google probably thinks this is me.

My site is currently outranked by my own Twitter profile, and has lost approximately 97% of its Google organic search traffic - since August.

Yet this scraper site is appearing in the top 3 results, for a range of terms (I know because their Google traffic is higher than mine, so its showing up more prominently in my analytics).

Sigh!

Anyone care to shed light on why  my site ends up penalized (I assume for the crime of having my source code scraped) when this nonsense ranks just fine?

+Matt Cutts +John Mueller +Barry Schwartz +Danny Sullivan 
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David Mercer

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In case you haven't already heard, there's a little kitty out there with feline dwarfism that earns more than you do.

Grumpy cat, according to Wikipedia, seems to be raking in millions of dollars, and this might strike you as odd given how difficult it is to start a successful enterprise these days.

I thought it would be interesting to examine the grumpy cat phenomenon, and explore the reasons it has become a viable business overnight so that we can apply those lessons to our own lives, ventures and startups.
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David Mercer

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When I started my first business some years ago I placed all my focus on creating a great offering, but almost no effort went into sales and networking. Needless to say that business took an incredibly long time to get off the ground - 6 years in fact.

During that time I learned a lot about how business works, and my focus has shifted almost completely onto sales, marketing and networking.

Nowadays, a good idea with a quality product backed by excellent service is the bare minimum required to succeed. Because there is so much competition (especially online), what sets companies apart these days is how effectively they can network and promote themselves.

In fact, one of my favorite sayings is that "it doesn't matter what business you are in, the business you are in is marketing".

But, if you're like me, networking and promotions don't come naturally and you have to work at them in order to help your business succeed.

This article explores a bunch of great tips that will help you build a genuine network of people who can drive your business forward (to (hopefully) achieve success in well under 6 years).
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David Mercer

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Interesting Amazon API demo showing how to retrieve a list of the top selling products on Amazon (by category), and then display the best offers available for those best-sellers.

Cached and updated daily.
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This article shows how easy it is to exploit a weakness in Google's analytics code in order to render their data essentially meaningless.

"Competitor B could then distort the information coming in to Competitor A at will, and get them to make bad decisions based on incorrect data."

How would you feel if you discovered this happening to your business?

+Matt Cutts +Rand Fishkin +Danny Sullivan +Barry Schwartz 
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David Mercer

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Google implements algorithm updates that can cause your search traffic to drop instantly for no apparent reason - it's sometimes called the Google dance.

In the vast majority of cases, the reason for a sudden drop is related to a problem with your own site, or duplicate content and poor quality backlinks.

In other words, if you've been hit by an update and lost all your traffic, the problem is most likely something you have to fix. But, not always.

Sometimes things go wrong on Google's end, and they make mistakes that can lead to all sorts of strange things happening in the search results.

Recently, Google implemented an update that rolled out on the 22nd of August that crushed a lot of well-to-do blogs and websites. As yet, there is no word on what the update is... but I thought I would offer some advice on what to do in these situations.
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In his circles
509 people
Have him in circles
528 people
Arlice Brown's profile photo
Work
Occupation
PHP developer, Drupal developer, Web developer, SEO consultant, Internet marketing consultant, Entrepreneur, startup founder, and lead guitarist
Employment
  • SME Pals
    Founder, 2010 - present
  • ZAPlayGround
    CTO, 2011 - 2013
  • 3DTracking
    PHP/Math solutions developer, 2012 - 2013
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Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
South Africa
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Tagline
Bestselling technical author. Entrepreneur. Startup founder. Mathematics. PHP. Drupal. eCommerce. Analytics. SEO. Blogging. Marketing. Social. Business. Helping companies grow and succeed online.
Introduction
I'm an internationally recognized expert/author on technology and business. My books have been published globally and translated into over ten languages - they are also recommended reading at leading institutes like MIT.

I started SME Pals as an all-in-one resource for bloggers, businesses, and entrepreneurs to get practical guidance and thought leadership on business technology and the Internet.

I consult to various organizations around the world, helping to build elegant solutions to complex business problems.

Bragging rights
Published two best-selling technical books while completing a cum laude degreee with a double major in Applied Math and Math. Technical book published globally and translated into over ten languages. Developed 2-opted ACO OO PHP solution to the TSP. WSM4B one of the "top 20 small business blogs" in the world.
Education
  • UNISA
    BSc (Applied Math, Math) Cum Laude, 1999 - 2003
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Male