Search Engine Optimization for PDFs

Optimize PDF Files For Search Engines

Google, Yahoo, and MSN can all spider and index text-based PDF files, and generally they rank quite well. PDF files can be used to seize top listings for important keywords and keyword phrases. In order to have a PDF effectively rank well in organic searches, it should be optimized for the search engines, just as you would optimize a web page. Optimization of PDF files for search engines is very similar to search engine optimization for other types of content...

1. Text Based

To be sure that the content of a PDF file is recognizable by a search engine, the most important thing involves how the PDF file is created. Some PDF programs simply convert text into a large image. If that occurs, the search engines cannot read or spider the text that is contained in the image. It is important to create the PDF file using a text-based editor like Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat, so that the text format is retained when the file is saved.

2. Optimize Text

Text contained in a PDF file is very similar to web copy, so use keywords in headings, and emphasize important keywords throughout the body of the PDF file.

3. Link Depth

In order for a PDF file to be indexed, the search engine must be able to find it. The links to the PDF files that you wish to have indexed by the search engines should be on a web page that is frequently spidered by search engines. Links to the PDF files should not be buried deep within the website. Use related keywords or a keyword phrase in the text of the link itself.

4. Add Links

Include links back to your website in the PDF text.

5. Document Properties

Define the document and metadata properties within the PDF file; this is done in Adobe Acrobat. Details: File -> Document Properties Advanced - > Document Meta-data (use the description menu to define -- this will give you the opportunity to fill in the Title/Author, Subject, and Keywords. Use commas to separate the keywords and keyword phrases).

6. Bold Heading

Use H1 or H2 tags to make headings and sub-titles bold. The search engines will place more emphasis on the words that are in bold, so be sure that they are related to your keywords.

7. Caption Under Photos

Include text captions under any photographs or images that are incorporated into the PDF file. The search engines will index the image captions just as they would the "alt text" on a web page image.

8. Name Of The PDF

Use related keywords in the actual file name for the PDF file. If you are using a keyword phrase to name the PDF file, use hyphens to make it easy to distinguish all the words used. For example: filename-keyword-phrase.pdf

PDF files often rank very well in search engines. Make sure you get the most SEO benefit from the PDF material on your website.

Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll audio recording and editing software.

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