PDF optimization often is forgotten by website owners, yet is so simple and does not take much time. As important it is to go through every page of your website making sure your target keywords or key phrases are in your title tags, heading tags, meta tags and body content – it is equally important to do to your PDF documents, a good PDF title will set the stage for Optimization.
The following PDF optimization tips will show you how to get the biggest search benefit from pdf documents:
SEO Tips for PDF Documents
In many ways, PDF files are treated like any other web page. The search engines are able to crawl PDF documents and index their content, as long as one follows certain rules. These include:
Specify document properties for the PDF
Most PDFs are created without specifying document properties. Specifiable document properties include Title, Author, Subject and Keywords. In optimizing PDFs for search, the most important property is the Title. And although the file name of the PDF will show as the title tag of the PDF document window in Acrobat, the file name is not the PDF’s Title. The titles fo the PDF can only be specified in the document properties, and it is invisible when viewing the PDF. Failing to specify and optimize the Title property will hurt not only your chances of ranking well, but also your chances of click-through.
Creating PDF documents using text-based programs, such as Microsoft Word.
Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and other graphic designing programs can produce stunning looking PDFs, however they may prevent your files from being indexed correctly in the search engines. For this reason, it’s important to use text-based software such as Microsoft Word to create any PDF documents if you would like them to be search engine friendly.
Improve the structure of your URLs.
Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the documents on your website can not only help you keep your site better organized but it could also lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines. Also, it can create easier. “friendlier” URL’s for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words. Try not to have too many links to your site and other sites as it might give the idea you are spamming.
Ad keywords in the correct places.
Adding focused keywords or keyphrases to a webpage to rank well is critically important. This is also important to do with PDF documents. Include targeted keywords and key phrases to PDF documents, but remember this document is meant for people to read not just for the robots. So use natural keywords.
a) Place keywords or keyphrases in the PDFs “document properties”. Depending on the program you use to create your files there is an area often called document properties or something similar. Make sure that each of these fields is optimized with your target keywords and key phrases, just like you would the meta tags on a traditional web page. Remember don’t overdo it there is a fine line between adding keywords and key phrases and keyword stuffing
b) Make the content of your PDF document keyword rich. Add your target keyword or key phrase frequency with which they’re used helps the search engine spiders to understand what your file is all about and where it should be ranked in the SERPs.
c) Use appropriate SEO file naming conventions.
On a standard website, for best SEO practices you name your HTML and image files according to your target keywords to improve your page’s ranking, and PDFs should be no different. Titling your PDF as “my-target-keyword-or-key-phrase.pdf” may give your file the slight advantage that allows it to rank higher, resulting in increased traffic and exposure for your website.
d) Avoid Keyword Stuffing
Obviously, as with traditional web pages, it’s important not to go overboard and over-optimize your PDFs. Use your target keywords strategically, but sparingly, in a way that provides value for your readers without appearing too spammy to the search engines.
Placing your PDFs strategically on your site.
If you add your PDFs too deeply in your website or upload them in compressed .ZIP files, they won’t be crawlable by the search engines. For maximum value, link to PDFs from your home page or no more then one to two pages deep from your homage.
Using PDFs to Improve Off-Page SEO
PDF documents are great for increasing inbound links. Generally, PDF documents often are high-value content – from conferences lecture slides, education research papers, detailed how to guides thus making pdf documents ideal for drawing links back to your site.
Making your PDF documents a traffic source outside of your website can be done by posting your PDF documents on file sharing websites such as Scribd or SlideShare. By uploading your PDF documents on such sites can help to build traffic to your site through increased brand awareness, you’ll receive a backlinks to your site every time these PDFs are shared on other sites
Also encourage the social sharing of PDF documents. Social signals are ranking factor for major search engines such as Google and Bing. By sharing PDF documents to generate social shares which point back to your websites it encourages natural link building. Depending on the quality of content and if it adds value your PDF can go viral making a large boost in website traffic.
PDF Optimizations really doesn’t take that much work and can be great inbound web traffic generators. It is not time consuming and a great return for your investment in time in getting it done. It isn’t necessary to complete every optimizing tip above in order to improve the SEO of your PDF documents. However accomplishing as many as you can does make a difference, because, keep in mind that these key PDF SEO Optimizations tips are not widely known or utilized by most website site owners and by doing this you are keeping one step ahead of your competition.