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 2/10 or less to display a status of Poor for keyword relevancy, Bing’s can be as high as a 5/10 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 9/10 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 2/10 or less.  In Bing, however, ads are limited only when the quality score is *Poor *(meaning as high as 5/10).

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.