Do you have PDFs on your site, such as brochures, fact sheets or informational documents? While many SEOs and site owners stray away from using PDFs altogether, sometimes their use cannot be avoided. What many don’t know, is that PDFs aren’t all bad and can actually be optimized to assist you in SEO. Continue reading to see how you can correctly optimize your PDFs.
1. Use text-based PDFs
First, make sure your text is basic and has the ability to copy and paste. Using a text-based program, such as Adobe Acrobat or Microsoft Word, which allows crawlers to read and index your content.
2. Write content with SEO guidelines in mind
Even though you’re writing a PDF, make sure to continue to use SEO guidelines just like you are creating a regular web page.
Use relevant keywords throughout your document at a density that isn’t too keyword heavy, add images with alt tags and utilize H1 and H2 tags (you can learn more about these here). Lastly, make sure to avoid duplicate content (you don’t want both HTML and PDF versions of the information).
3. Don’t forget to link
Remember to include relevant internal and external links throughout your PDF. The internal links will help drive traffic to other areas of your site that are referenced throughout the PDF. Also, link to your PDF from top level pages of your site so that it can be found easily.
4. Select an appropriate file name
When saving your PDF, it’s important to give it a relevant file name. Often, this name will become part of the URL to the document, so it needs to be SEO-friendly. This applies to the title of the document as well!
5. Access document properties
Speaking of PDF titles, you can access this and more information in “document properties” (located under file > properties). Here, you will see spaces for Title, Author, Subject and Keywords. The Title should be the appropriate file name you developed, the Author should be your company name (unless this is for your personal site) and the Subject serves as a meta description. The Keywords section is where you can place your target keywords or phrases that you used to write the PDF, separated by commas.
6. Finishing up
To finish up your PDF optimization, some recommend to not save it as the latest Acrobat version (as many users might not have a new version).
Put some finishing touches on your PDF by making sure it’s visually pleasing and includes images with alt tags. Then, link to it from other popular pages and don’t forget to share on your social media platforms.