Can a small or medium sized business (SMB) make a big impact with paid search campaigns? Analysts believe it’s possible but many SMBs are going about their campaigns, especially on Google’s AdWords, the wrong way. Wordstream just completed a study on this topic and has suggested several solutions to bandbpaidsearchkeep SMBs from wasting their ad budgets.

Elisa Gabbert, Wordstream, notes that the typical SMB spends $1,200 a month on paid search but at least 25% of that amount is wasted. The firm’s survey shows that SMBs are doing well with keyword optimization and landing page quality. However, their mobile search strategy and their ad relevancy approach both need work as these efforts are returning only average results. The firm’s research suggests that the average bed and breakfast inn could score an additional 367 inquiries next year with an improved PPC strategy. Similarly, a health club could convert 218 inquiries into gym memberships by using the right PPC campaign.

To address mobile search campaign problems, SMBs should add call extensions. Fewer than 5% of SMBs have set up call extensions on their campaigns. Providing that simple piece of information can drastically improve mobile campaigns, boosting mobile CTR by as much as 10%.

SMBs can also improve their metrics by focusing on keywords. Using specific, rather than general, keywords will result in lower CPCs and generate more clicks. These businesses also need to look at broad matches. Currently, only 25% do. And, negative keywords are used too infrequently. Only 20% of AdWords accounts used by SMBs employ negative keywords.

SMBs can also optimize their spending by considering when their PPC campaigns run. If they are operating a retail establishment which is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., it might make sense to pay for ads only during peak traffic times if there’s a need to bring in customers at lunch time, for example.

Industry experts say that one of the best ways to rejuvenate a PPC campaign is to actually spend time on it. With about half of SMBs only adjusting their campaigns on a quarterly basis, it’s easy to see how the budget can be wasted.

How often are you tweaking your PPC campaign?

[Source: Un, Jeffrey. 5 Google AdWords Tips for a Small Budget. 7 Jan. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013; Gabbert, Eliza. AdWordsTips. 9 Oct. 2013. Web. 24 Oct. 2013]