Over the years search engines have become much more adept at crawling and indexing PDF files, and as you may have noticed they even appear in search engine results. Often the SEO of PDF files is neglected however, which tends to minimize the impact that the content in PDF files can have.
If your website uses PDFs in any way, shape, or form – you should make it a point to ensure it is optimized for search engines. At the end of the day PDFs often consist of high quality content, and so it stands to reason that ensuring it ranks well on search engines would be a good thing.
On top of that it really isn’t that difficult to improve SEO for PDF files, and you can start by doing the following:
Use descriptive filenames
As you know it is always best to use descriptive filenames, and PDF files are no exception to this rule. Ideally the filename of your PDF document should let people (and search engines) know what it is about and perhaps even target specific keywords that you want to rank in.
Make sure the PDF document title is keyword optimized
Of all the properties (read: metadata) of PDF files, arguably the most important is the title. It should be treated just like the title-tag on webpages, and should be optimized for specific keywords. Just like the title-tag on webpages, you should try to keep it under 60 characters so that it is displayed properly in search engine results.
Write out an informative description of the PDF document
Another important property of PDF files is the description, which is also sometimes referred to as the subject. It essentially takes the place of the description tag for webpages, and search engines often pull it directly to use in the text that appears right below the results listing. Because of its position the description should contain keywords, but also focus on clearly describing the content so that it attracts clicks.
The character limit for descriptions is 300 characters, though you may want to make it as concise as possible so that it is significantly less than that.
Link back to the website
Think of any PDF file that you use on your website as part and parcel of the website itself, and while you may not have a full-fledged navigation bar on it you should at very least link back to the website. Not only is this a good on-page SEO practice, but it also means that if others share your PDF you’ll end up with a backlink that points to your website – which is good for its SEO too.
Fill out any other applicable metadata
Aside from the title and description, PDF documents support a wide range of other metadata – and you should take advantage of that. Despite the fact that it may not have as pronounced an effect on SEO as the title or description, the other metadata can help to contextualize your PDF document for search engines and could help with its ranking.
In particular you should make it a point to fill out the alt tags for any images that are used in PDF files – just like you would for a regular website.
As you can see the SEO for PDF files isn’t that different from regular websites, and many of the core components are the same. More importantly it isn’t difficult to take care of any of the areas listed above and the benefits certainly make it worthwhile.
The one tool you may need to prepare your PDFs for search engines is a decent editor. On that front Movavi PDF Editor can help as it will let you edit your PDF documents in a range of ways. Not only can you alter their properties, but you can also add new pages, remove existing pages, or rearrange their sequence.
Having Movavi PDF Editor will let you handle your PDF documents more easily. Aside from editing them directly, you could use it to split existing documents into smaller parts or extract individual pages and save them as standalone PDFs. Additionally you could import files from other software such as Word, Excel or Photoshop as PDFs and then append them with its help too.