6 Easy Steps to PDF Optimization

Gone are the days of posting your PDF brochure that matches the content on your web page. Now, many of the PDF documents posted online contain rich, detailed information that serves as a supplement to the website content. And just as you would like users to find your website in search, you want them to find these PDFs that you have created.

Follow the steps outlined below and you will be well on your way to getting your PDF documents indexed and found in search.

Creating Your PDF

  • Make it text-based – Images have their place, however text-based PDFs are able to be crawled and understood by search engines. For lengthy documents with multiple sections, include a table of contents with keyword optimized headings.
  • Incorporate links – Wherever applicable, embed links back to your site. This includes your logo. If your PDF ends up on another site, these will count as backlinks, which are considered an important ranking factor.
  • Use image alt text – Make alt text relevant to each image and use keywords as applicable.

Saving Your PDF

  • Include optimized file properties – Add a title no longer than 60 characters including spaces with keywords toward the beginning. This is what will be seen in the search results, so make sure it conveys the topic clearly.
  • Use an SEO-friendly file name – Sometimes the title is not shown in search results, and what is seen is the file name instead. Make sure it is SEO and user friendly – use dashes rather than underscores to improve readability.
  • Minimize the file size – Nothing is worse than having users leave because it takes too long for a file to download. When creating a PDF from Microsoft Word, choose Minimum Size, and deselect ISO 19005-1 compliant (PDF/A) and Bitmap text when fonts may not be embedded under Options.

PDF Compression Graphic

Keep these steps in mind when creating PDF documents for your website, and you will help optimize them for users as well as search engines.

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