Black Friday in July? Target and WAL-MART led the way a few months ago with a trend that’s popped up, in light of the current economy of course. Geoffrey Shenk with Search Engine Land says if you think it’s too soon to shop online for the upcoming holidays…well…you’re wrong. Shenk notes that in 2009 online retail sales shot up 51%, and this trend is expected to continue. He offers five strategies for leveraging this online buying trend. …I guess some people really do need to get that much of a head start on Christmas shopping.

We’ve reached the end of the Yahoo! to Bing transition and if you’re like me you might still have a few (okay maybe that’s an understatement) questions about how it will affect your accounts. In order to ease us through this process Nora Flansburg of adCenter Blog has been writing a month-long Feature Comparison Series.  This series provides details on how Yahoo! and Bing differ and the changes we should note. Her 6th post in the series focuses on Match Types and Negative Keywords, providing us with tips to effectively transition and optimize account performance.

Google is indeed intelligent, we all know this, but beware of where Google places your ads on the Content Network in Automatic Placements.  In this funny (and ultimately frightening) blog post, explores the more bizarre and hilarious Google placements that are completely out of left-field, or completely inappropriate.  For instance, on a news site discussing terrorist plots, there is an ad to become “100 % certified in terrorism.” Or Ebay ads that talk about selling babies and homeless men.  Have a good laugh, but be sure to look at your automatic placements so you aren’t on the next Google Ads Fail blog.

Google is now offering a product that allows business owners to create ads from a Google Places account.  According to Search Engine People’s Martha Vasquez, Google Boost makes it easier to advertise locally without the keyword research and geo-targeting involved with an AdWords account.  The business owner will need to have a claimed Google Places account, submit a destination page, business description, budget and choose categories for their ad to show up for (Google chooses the relevant keywords).

Most of the time, your PPC ad will have a single shot at stardom.   Its text, therefore, has to be exact and appealing…but what does that actually mean?  An effective combination of keywords?  A catchy phrase?  A call of action?  All three of these techniques are solid, but as Michael Mostert of MSN’s adCenter Blog reminds us, ad text must respond to customer needs.  Using your 15 seconds of fame to mention practical aspects of your business appeals to a searcher’s need for simplicity – which can then lead to more clicks for you.  After all, people shop online to make things easy for themselves. For businesses, the easier you make it, the better.