11 SEO Tips for PDFs

Search engine land has posted a useful article on the key things to do in order to optimize PDFs for search engines. Here’s an overview:

  1. Make sure your PDFs are text-based
  2. Complete the document properties
  3. Optimize the copy
  4. Build links into PDF
  5. Pay attention to the version
  6. Optimize the file size for search
  7. Pay attention to placement
  8. Influence meta descriptions for PDFs
  9. Specify the reading order
  10. Tag your PDFs
  11. Pay attention

There are a few recommendations here that I was unaware of, such as specifying the reading order and adding tags.

Given that #1 is a no-brainer, at the very least I would recommend doing 2 and 6 in order to put your PDFs into some sort of minimum fit state for search engine accessibility.

2 thoughts to “11 SEO Tips for PDFs”

  1. For accessibility the best thing is to do all those things but when creating them in pdfs use the pdf creator icon in the Word doco and not “File, Print, pdf”.
    As when you do this it gets rid of all the tags, bookmarks etc

  2. I don’t think you can emphasize #11 enough. I think everybody in web development – heck, everybody who uses a computer – has at least once had a horrifying snafu simply because of an ill-placed click. “Save” instead of saving as a different document alone has cost me some severe emotional distress over sudden loss of vital data. And as for SEO/SEM? Google and its algorithms can be very unforgiving.

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