Qual­i­ty Score (QS) has been used as a help­ful per­for­mance met­ric in Google Adwords to deter­mine ad rel­e­van­cy for years but last month’s roll­out of Microsoft adCenter’s per­for­mance mea­sure of the same name begged the ques­tions, “What is the real dif­fer­ences between Google and Bing’s Qual­i­ty Score?” and, “How can we lever­age Bing’s new Qual­i­ty Score to man­age our cam­paigns most effec­tive­ly?”

Qual­i­ty Score Defined

Qual­i­ty Score (SQ) is a mea­sure of how rel­a­tive paid adver­tis­ing is for users in the com­pet­i­tive mar­ket­place.  In both Bing and Google, the QS of a key­word is rat­ed between 1 and 10 with a one indi­cat­ing a poor qual­i­ty key­word and a ten indi­cat­ing a key­word of the high­est qual­i­ty.

QS is mea­sured by past per­for­mance his­to­ry (CTR), key­word rel­e­vance, and land­ing page rel­e­van­cy & qual­i­ty.  Rel­e­van­cy mea­sures include how well a key­word match­es users’ search queries, how well the key­word match­es the ad text, and how well the ad match­es the search queries.  Sev­er­al fac­tors such as page load time and site nav­i­ga­bil­i­ty are used to deter­mine a rel­e­vant land­ing page.

How is Qual­i­ty Score Dis­played?

We begin to see a dif­fer­ence between Bing and Google QS in how each is dis­played with­in its respec­tive UI.  Each engine dis­plays a col­umn for qual­i­ty score but while Google requires a 210 or less to dis­play a sta­tus of Poor for key­word rel­e­van­cy, Bing’s can be as high as a 510 for the same sta­tus.

Addi­tion­al­ly, while Google will give a key­word and land­ing page rel­e­van­cy or land­ing page user expe­ri­ence sta­tus of No prob­lems even when the score is as high as 10/10, Bing will dis­play a sta­tus of *Good *if the score is a 910 or high­er.

Impact of Qual­i­ty Score

For both Bing and Google, qual­i­ty score is recal­cu­lat­ed each time a key­word match­es a query and indi­cates the degree to which the ads are eli­gi­ble to be served in response to the keyword’s search query.  A low qual­i­ty score will lim­it the ad’s expo­sure.   In Google, a mes­sage is dis­played in the sta­tus col­umn to alert that the ad is rarely shown due to low qual­i­ty score if the score is 210 or less.  In Bing, how­ev­er, ads are lim­it­ed only when the qual­i­ty score is *Poor *(mean­ing as high as 510).

Most impor­tant­ly is the impact of qual­i­ty score on the rank of key­words.  In Google, QS has a large impact on how ads will be ranked.  High QS leads to a high­er bid going into the ad auc­tion.

Where­as, in Bing, qual­i­ty score is not used to cal­cu­late ad posi­tion direct­ly and there­fore has less over­all impact on per­for­mance.

Bing Qual­i­ty Score Best Prac­tices

Key­word Rel­e­vance:

-          Write com­pelling ads and remove under­per­form­ing ads to improve over­all rel­e­vance and qual­i­ty of ads

-          Ensure key­words are rel­e­vant to search queries by using appro­pri­ate match types and delete under­per­form­ing or irrel­e­vant key­words

-          Uti­lize neg­a­tive key­words

Land­ing Page Guide­lines:

-          Make site con­tent rel­e­vant by using the same key­words across page and ad group as well as orga­niz­ing ad groups in a way that groups key­words spe­cif­ic to land­ing pages.