Query: I have submitted PDF files many times on the web, but they are not ranking or indexing properly. I don’t know the exact reason behind it. Can anyone please let me know how to make PDF file search engine friendly so that search engine can index them properly?
Solution: Yes, there is a solution to optimize PDF for search engine to rank on Google. I have explained 11 tips to make PDF file search engine friendly. Just read the details in below.
PDF documents are often uploaded to the server, and most of the time with useful and high quality content, it would be a shame if all this content is lost in cyberspace.
PDF documents offer many optimization possibilities, so it is recommended to optimize them as much as possible, so that search engines come and eat it with pleasure.
I use Adobe Acrobat to edit PDFs, I suppose the rest of PDF editors can do the same.
Here are some points to keep in mind for SEO optimization of PDFs
- Friendly file name: It is much better to put a file name that represents the content it carries, for example blue windows.pdf than 1234.pdf. In case you forget to give the pdf file a title, Google will display the file name as the title.
- Optimized “title” tag: In the same way as any web page, we will have to optimize the “title” of our PDF document, a title that summarizes what the document is about and that includes the keywords for which we want to “position”. This title will be shown in the SERPs.
- Concise descriptions: The description field of a PDF document is equivalent to the meta description of any web page. Therefore, it creates a concise description that summarizes the content of the PDF. The description will also be shown in the SERPs.
- Author: The author field may not have any influence on search engines, but it is good to fill it out just in case. Put the author’s name, or the name of the web page, the extra information never hurts.
- Keywords, keywords: The keywords field would be the equivalent of the meta keywords on a web page. It probably has very little validity for search engines, but it is also good to fill it with the most relevant keywords of the pdf document.
- Complete all the metadata: In Acrobat there are several metadata fields to fill in, if you can fill them all, it is always good to classify and give more information about our pdf document.
- Add tags and accessibility features: In Adobe Acrobat you can go to the advanced menu and the accessibility sub-menu. In the options of this sub-menu it allows you to add functionalities to the document to be read by special readers. You can also add tags to better categorize the document.
- Add ALT tag to images: In the same way as with any web page, you should also add alt tags to images in the PDF document.
- Add links: Don’t forget to add links to your PDF documents, at least one link back to the home page. Put links in the same way as if it were a web page (although in reality it is not the same).
- Protect the document against writing: More than anything so that they do not take your PDF document and insert it in any other site, and if they do, at least you will have a link to your website.
- Offer an html version: Especially for the user, since there are users who do not want the PDF viewer to open, or simply do not have it installed, therefore it is better to offer an html version, also using the canonical url that is prefer to avoid duplicate content.
Surely there is one more thing to optimize, but in summary it could be this, always treating it as if it were a “normal” page and not in pdf, with user-friendly content written for users.