5 Ways to Optimize Your PDF for SEO

You want that people should be checking your brochure online on PDF or want to showcare your tailor made Resume as a PDF file so that people can check all the information and even save it without using “Prt Sc Sys Rq” option to see the beautiful design in formation afterwords as well.

Well PDF gives you let your design and fonts to be intact even after saving and opening on different systems but some people jerk the idea of using it because of the fear of lower search engine rankings. Today we will discuss someways to Optimize Your PDF for SEO.

PDF is an excellent format for many business materials that you post on your company website, such as flyers, resumes, company statistics, product information, and so on. Many business owners, however, feel that they cannot or should not use PDFs on their website for fear of hurting their search engine rankings. In actuality, PDFs can be optimized for the search engines just like any HTML Web page. Here are 5 SEO tips to help you create PDFs that will get the attention of the search engine spiders.

You might also be interested in going through some of our previous posts on Adobe Reader Alternatives, Landing Page Optimization Tips and Creating Depth in Web Design.

1. Make Sure the PDF is Text-Based

In order for search engines to be able to crawl your PDF, it has to be a text-based file, rather than image-based. This means that you will have to create the PDF in a text editing software, such as MS Word, rather than in an image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop.

2. Optimize the Content As You Would For a Regular Web Page

The same basic rules apply. Choose your keywords and be sure to use them in the page title, headings, a couple of times in the first paragraph, and throughout the rest of the document — but make sure to use the keywords naturally, and don’t overuse them! Image captions within the PDF are also a good idea. In addition, you should name the file using the primary keyword, so that it shows up in the URL. Just like with regular Web pages, these will emphasize your PDF’s relevance when the search engines send out their spiders.

3. Fill in the Document Properties

When you create a PDF, you have the opportunity to complete the document properties, which includes the title, author, subject, and keywords. The title is the most important, as it will supply the page title in search engine results. If you don’t create a title, the search engines will use a line from the page, which may not make a lot of sense to potential visitors. If your page doesn’t appear to be relevant in the search engines, Web surfers won’t click on it, and you’ll lose traffic.

4. Take Advantage of Tags

If you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, you can use the tagging feature to create tags that operate similarly to html tags. For instance, you can create tags for your headings, tag your images with alternate text, and so on, just as you would do with html on a regular Web page.

5. Make Sure The PDF is Easily Visible

In order for the search engines to crawl your document, they need to be able to find it easily. You can help them find it in a number of ways: by placing the document close to the root directory of your website (i.e., not too deep a link), by linking to the PDF from your homepage or one of your main pages, and by linking to other pages from the PDF. These precautions will lead the search engines’ spiders back to the PDF so that you can be sure it gets noticed.

Using PDFs on your website can be an excellent way of promoting your business, so don’t neglect this tool simply because you are worried about search engine optimization. By following the SEO tips above, you can optimize your PDF just like any regular Web page, and still provide potential customers with the information they need in an easily downloadable format!

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  • ZangoRango

    OK that really does make a lot of sense dude.

  • Tom Aikins

    Hey, thanks for this. I never knew any of this stuff and I’ve been doing SEO for some time now. I’ll bookmark this page for sure for future reference.

  • Brett Widmann

    These were really helpful tips! They will really come in handy. Thank you.

  • Oogst

    Great tips. Never really thought about pdf optimizing.

  • Any thoughts on how to embed a pdf in a page but retain its ability to be searched by Google? I have a directory of indoor environmental inspectors, and I’d like to include example pdf reports on their profile page. However, I can’t seem to find a solution that would fully embed the pdf within the page, but retain searchability of the content.

  • Asif

    Optimizing PDF can help in SEO! Cool! But does proper naming of PDF file make sense as well??

  • exhibition graphic design

    Thanks i was going to create a webpage for my pdf until i found this, cool :)

  • vinga

    One more advice – give user a choice how to see the content – place on your site both link to PDF file and online Flash based digital publication (like here http://pressmo.com/pdf-flash-example/4). You can create it online from PDF on Pressmo website and than can keep it on your own server. The differences from original file are: customizable graphical interface, possibility of embedding inside existing web page, page-turn effect and last but not least – optimized downloading. Only pages that user want’s to see are reguired to download so he doesn’t have to download entire PDF file

  • I think building links into PDF also works in this pattern. This is a useful post for ebook authors. Really a worthy sharing post.

  • Manuel Garcia

    First time to know that there is also an SEO technique applied in PDF. Maybe because i’ve never try to create one.

  • “Fill in the Document Properties”

    A bit more elaboration on how this is done on different software will be another great blog article idea. I use Acrobat Pro of course since I’m well versed in these type of tasks, but I’m sure many people will wonder how to do those things on their own. Is it possible if you use Windows machines with Microsoft Word in it? I’ve been on a Mac for almost 5 years so I’m not sure…

  • Julie Allen

    Thanks for a terrific and concise article. You addressed a concern I had about posting PDFs of my client’s published articles on his website.

    I am bit confused though by James Mallory’s comment about fully embedding a pdf and retaining the searchability of the content by Google. Is that a moot point if we follow your instructions to optimize the PDF or is his point a separate issue?

  • Jai

    Very nicely discussed here. Thanks for this useful post here. Great! Keep it up.

  • Prabha

    All these 5 points are very important to optimize you pdf for SEO. I will follow these steps surely.

  • Prabha

    If anyone want to optimize his SEO preformance these five points are must for him and they really works.

  • Prabha

    Really awesome and real tircks which works thanks for posting this great tip.

  • Tarun Jaitely

    Useful tips, Many authors don’t spend enough time to optimize the pdf. This post will help them. Thanks for sharing :)

  • Kamal

    Wonderful tips here! This idea of optimizing the PDF for SEO is just awesome. Thanks a lot..

  • Bhring Nath Prasad

    wow these tricks are really cool one to optimize you pdf for SEO. thanks for sharing these.