PDFs on your website represent a great untapped opportunity for SEO
Do you have PDF documents on your website? Many websites do and some of these often contain valuable information such as product or technical specifications, instruction booklets or things like newsletters. So wouldn’t it make sense for these pages to appear as high as they can in the search engines?
People give little thought to SEO when creating PDFs
Unfortunately most people who create PDFs that are going to end up on websites give little or no thought to whether the document is going to appear in the search engines. This is not really their fault, it’s most likely to be something they’ve never even considered in the first place.
In truth PDF documents are indexed by the search engines much like any web page would be, and therefore can benefit greatly from a little time spent optimising them. The techniques involved are slightly different from optimising ordinary web pages, but not at all difficult to do (and often even easier).
Here’s the 5 PDF optimisation steps I’ve found work best
Below I’ve outlined the 5 main steps I’ve found work best when optimising PDF documents. They are all focused on offering the best results with the least effort, and can be completed by anyone:
1. Make sure you have plenty of actual text in the PDF document. It’s not unusual for PDFs to have text in image form (such as taken from a print document). This offers no benefit for SEO as search engines won’t be able to read the text.
2. Remember keyword phrases. Search engines will noticed relevant keyword phrases in PDFs in the same way they will with a web page. So make sure and do your keyword research and then ensure the phrases are present in the text.
3. Add a title to the PDF. A good title will help search engines initially figure out what the PDF is all about, so a little time spent on creating it will be useful. You can add the title to the top of the main document and also embed it when you convert it.
4. Add links to other site pages. I’ve found it’s worthwhile adding links within the PDFs to other pages on the website. This obviously drives traffic around the site, so people read more content, but also the PDFs get shared around on other sites, and the links can then drive further traffic back to your site.
5. Create an SEO-friendly file name. When you save a PDF you generally give it a name. If it’s going to end up on the website it’s worth making the name meaningful and even include keywords if possible. This will help the search engines understand better what the PDF is all about.