These actionable tips will help you optimise PDF documents on your website so that you have more SEO friendly content.
1. Choose an SEO Friendly File
When creating your PDF, figure out which words best sum up its contents. The filename will likely appear in any search engine results so make it relevant for potential users. Use hyphens to separate words and consider your use of capital letters.
2. Create an Engaging Title and Description
Google uses your title and description as tags when displaying search results. This also happens with PDFs. These details are accessed by your PDF reader and the PDFs title becomes its meta title and the subject becomes its meta description.
3. Structure your Content with Headings
Both HTML pages and PDFs are formatted via headings. By using headings and subheadings, you allow both users and search engines to better understand your content. This is even more important than usual if your page is visited by mobile users.
4. Include Relevant Links in your PDF
Make sure your PDF contains links to your website’s pages. Google follows these links and it helps strengthen your site’s SEO. Remember there is nothing wrong with linking to external sites, it actually helps you rank higher on Google when done well.
5. Provide Strong Anchor Text when Linking the PDF
The way in which your site links internally is very important when optimising for SEO. A well-built structure helps users interact and also helps Google find you. Above all, make sure that there are no PDFs uploaded to your site which have not been linked to with descriptive anchor text. Google views internal links as a measure of importance for indexing and ranking you among search results. Orphaned PDFs are not indexed or ranked by Google at all.
6. Watch out for Duplication Errors
Make sure that two or more of your web pages are not fighting over the same keywords. Your PDFs will also fight your webpages for those same keywords so set up canonical links to avoid content duplication. Canonical links tell Google which pages act as the authority on the enclosed content. Google then treats the canonical pages as the important ones and ranks them more highly.
7. Save your PDF as Plain Text
If your PDF functions as an image and not as a text document, then Google has to work harder to understand it. While Google is capable of reading image-based PDFs, it may not get the contents right and plain text PDFs avoid this issue entirely.
8. Optimise your PDF’s Images
If your PDF contains images, you must ensure that they are not too large. Load speed is one of the factors Google considers strongly when ranking web pages and large images decrease your score in that area. Also, remember to include alt-text for any images as they are an opportunity to increase your keyword density.
9. Optimise for Mobile Viewers
Mobile traffic now accounts for more than half of all search engine traffic. This means that optimising for mobile has gone from optional to necessary. If you want to make sure your PDF is mobile-friendly, then initially design it as an HTML document and then convert HTML to PDF in c# for the best results.
10. Compress your PDF’s File Size
This falls under the same line of reasoning as avoiding large images. Smaller files mean faster download and that means higher Google rankings. As a general rule of thumb, if your PDF is smaller than 5 MB it will do well when it comes to the file-size based ranking metric.
Maryn is a tech enthusiast and creative content writer. She is interested in all tech-related stuff, digital marketing, travel, fitness and personal improvement. Find Maryn on Twitter @MarynMcdonnell