In the world of search optimized web pages and images, PDF documents often get neglected when it comes to their SEO. PDF documents often offer unique and good quality content and can prove to be a goldmine for content-hungry searchers. But a lot of people ignore this potential of PDFs and even neglect their SEO altogether.
Google and other search engines have been crawling, indexing and ranking PDF documents for a long time now. But even with this level of attention from the search engines, the simple practices that can be used to make PDF files SEO-friendly are blatantly being neglected. The rich content present in the PDFs are the perfect for execution of a successful SEO campaign which is evident from the fact that they even have their own tag in the search engine result pages (SERPs). It is, therefore, crucial that PDFs are optimized in order to increase their visibility and ranking in the search results. Best SEO consultants in UK urge their clients to not ignore their PDF files. The SEO set of rules or best practices are slightly different from the traditional on-page SEO ones. The concept is the same but the methodology is a bit different.
Listed below are some of the best practices of 2018 that you can use for making your PDF files SEO-friendly and gain better organic traffic from them.
The first and most important thing for a PDF’s search engine optimization is its file name. in our journey of converting word document to universally transportable PDF files, we tend to forget the SEO related impact of the file’s name. Usually people tend to save the name that is automatically generated at the end of each conversion which in turn can adversely affect other SEO components such the page title and URL, etc.
It is better if you do some keyword research and competitor analysis before naming or renaming your PDF files. Consider using phrases with capitalized first letters of each word separated with the help of hyphens.
Even though title tag is one of the most basic on-site SEO elements, it is also the most commonly forgotten one when it comes to PDF files. You can easily set the title of your file in the document properties. Search engines parse PDF title tags like those of HTML pages and show them as clickable text to the users in the SERPs. Therefore, keep your title tags unique, informative, concise and in-line with the focused keyword. It is recommended that you create titles that target long-tail keywords as PDFs with generic terms or loosely focused keywords tend to fail in the ranking race.
Also, fill other document fields such as subject, author and keywords for a completely optimized document.
Sometimes internal linking of PDFs in a website can prove to be a tad bit difficult task. These documents are enriched with high-value information such as report or surveys but their uses are specific. This is why many sites have PDFs listed as orphaned pages in their hierarchical structure.
The best approach is to consider PDFs as important as any HTML page with proper internal linking available for users and search engine crawlers. You can also use anchor text for pointing towards your document within your site. Remember to add a link of your website inside the PDF document so that it serves as a good backlink if a website of higher ranking hosts a copy of it.
Seamless mobile experience is the top most priority when it comes to digital marketing these days. With Google’s announcement of mobile-first index, it is now a necessity of SEO experts to have their projects in mobile-friendly form. This same rule applies to PDF documents and their lengthy content.
You can make your PDFs mobile friendly by aligning the content to the page’s left side. This will make scrolling easier on a mobile device instead of going through the tedious horizontal scroll. Reduce the size of your PDF file with free PDF optimizing tools such as smallPDF and PDFResizer, etc. Consider adding content with bold text, bullet points and catchy images to make it more appealing for passing-by readers.
High quality images tend to make your PDFs visually appealing but they also contribute to slower load speed due to their large size. Load speed plays a critical role in page ranking and user engagement. So, in order to keep the aesthetics of your file’s images without compromising their quality consider optimizing them with tools such as JPEG Optimizer, Tiny PNG, Optimizilla and JPEGmini.
Majority of the PDFs published consist of images-based text. We might consider them full of text but search engine only see them as images with text. Search engines are getting good at reading image related content but textual content is preferred more. You can easily convert your image based PDFs into text ones using OCR Tools or PDF converters.
Another way to make your PDFs search engine optimized is by adding subheadings to your content instead of large chunks of paragraphs. This technique of content arrangement is especially useful for making the content mobile friendly and also retains your reader’s attention by making the content legible.
Alternative text is the savior of images when it comes to SEO. However, many people do not know the fact that you can add alternative text to your PDF file’s images as well. You can add alt text element depending on the software you are using for creating your PDF.
From the list given above you can see that PDF files have almost similar techniques for optimization as HTML pages. With a search engine optimized PDF you can greatly increase your ranking chances and also provide your visitors with good quality content.