Relevance and quality guidelines

Microsoft’s primary goal is to provide an effective advertising experience for our advertisers, as well as a relevant, positive experience for consumers seeking products, services, and content on our search network and content network.


Our relevance and quality policy focuses on four core aspects of your campaign that affect user experience:

  1. Keyword relevancy – How relevant are the keywords you choose?
  2. Ad copy (title, text, and display URL) - Do you have a highly relevant, accurate, well written ad?
  3. Landing page and site user experience- How does your site navigation and functionality affect users?
  4. Landing page and site content quality - Does your site offer valuable content of use to users?

How does this policy affect your ad delivery?

  • Advertisers with more relevant keywords and higher quality ads and landing pages are usually rewarded with more prominent ad positions or a lower cost per click (CPC).
  • Less relevant keywords and low-quality ads and landing pages might result in less favorable ad positions or a higher CPC.
  • In some cases, the ad might not appear at all. Please check the Marketplace Exclusion section below for scenarios in which ads or sites may be completely excluded from the marketplace.

Please ensure your keyword, ad and landing page choices meet the policies below.


Keyword relevancy

Using the right techniques in choosing keywords and building ads not only drives user engagement, but it also helps maintain the ROI of the marketplace for all advertisers.


Keywords should be relevant. This means your site should be a satisfactory destination for users, based on a primary user intent of the keyword(s) you select.


Your keywords should relate directly to either:

  • The specific range of products, services, or content on your landing page.
  • The general content, purpose, and theme of your site.

 

Please note: extremely popular or trending queries may be subject to a higher standard of relevancy and ads must fully align with the primary user intent of the keywords/queries to participate.


Ad copy (title, text, and display URL)

Ads must:

  • Be clear, truthful and accurate - Clearly and accurately demonstrate in your ad how your keywords relate to the product or service you offer.
  • Be correctly constructed - Ads should be grammatically correct, not include misspellings, and be formatted correctly.
  • Manage expectations
    • Ads should not mislead.
    • Ads must be highly relevant to the product, services or information presented on your landing page, or the general content, purpose, and theme of your site.

For information about how to format and create your ads, please see our Ad Content and Style Guidelines.


Marketplace exclusion

Sites may be excluded if there is reason to believe that their advertising or business practices are potentially malicious, harmful or deceptive or they consistently violate Microsoft’s policies. For more information, please see the User Safety and Privacy Guidelines.


The following are examples of sites that may be completely excluded from the marketplace:

  • Sites that include viruses, malware, spyware, or other self-installing programs.
  • Business models that attempt to mislead site visitors, or that seem deceptive or fraudulent.
  • Phishing sites that try to trick visitors into sharing personal data for fraudulent purposes, such as stealing one’s identity.
  • Pages that consist entirely of advertising, or whose main purpose is to direct site visitors to advertising.
  • Link farms.
  • Parked domains.
  • Sites operated by advertisers who consistently violate our Editorial Policies or submit large numbers of irrelevant keywords.

Landing page and site user experience

The functionality of your site should not surprise site visitors or interfere with a user’s ability to navigate. Navigation buttons should operate in a standard and predictable manner, and sites and page content should load properly.


Landing page behavior may provide a low-value user experience if they:

  • Redirect site visitors unexpectedly to unrelated domains.
  • Use doorway pages, or cloaking.
  • Without the users consent:
    • Change browser preferences or resetting default home pages.
    • Resize browser windows or disabling browser buttons.
  • Spawn multiple pop-ups or pop-ups that prevent visitors from leaving the site.
  • Do not open properly or consistently result in a product not available message.

 

Landing page and site content quality
The below guidelines apply to the following markets: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States.

Generally, we consider content to be valuable if it enables users to find the products, services or information they request easily, or assists users by informing or shortening their buying, or research process. Your landing page should provide clear, direct access to content that is related to your ads and keywords and should not obstruct, delay or confuse users. Landing page and site content should not function primarily to support the display of advertising or attract traffic.

Sites or landing pages may be considered low quality content if they:

  • Display a high density of advertising above the fold, and/or consist significantly of advertising or links.
  • Feature content that functions primarily to support ad monetization.
  • Are built for search engines, featuring excessive off-topic keywords or pages that feature hard-to-read text.
  • Consistently feature sparse or limited content, particularly where the user would expect to find a range of offers, products or information on a similar site.
  • Have as the sole purpose to redirect to other businesses, without adding significant value as an intermediary, for example, by providing enhanced pricing, product or merchant information.
  • Misrepresent the origin or intent of their content and as a result are likely to deceive a portion of the target audience.
  • Requires the entry of personal data unnecessary for the purposes of providing services or completing a purchase.
    • Please note, sites driving users directly to a sign up or login page must enable the user to link back to the main homepage or supporting content describing services and terms of use.
  • Delay or obstruct the user’s access to requested content, products or services by adding steps solely designed to monetize the user
  • Employ marketing tactics that might be considered evasive, overly sensational or potentially confusing.
  • It must be noted in ad copy if:
    • Access to content or services requires a software download (e.g. toolbars)
    • The user would expect online content but this is delivered in an offline format (such as SMS information services).

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