You’ve probably posted a pdf online, shared it with your contacts or featured it in your blog / website. This is a pretty common practice since the format has become the default for online documents. Like most text based information, they have been indexable by search engines for quite some time now.
Although html documents can display the same information as pdfs, there are some inherent advantages to using this format. Portable Document Format (PDF) is the current standard e-book format. PDFs can be encrypted and digitally signed. They contain a combination of vector graphics, text and bitmap and generally have a standard look and feel across platforms. It is also easier to prepare a pdf from an existing office document. This makes it convenient for businesses to prepare, post and share what they want. Often the document is already electronically stored as a pdf.
People tend to download pdfs and save it in different devices for reading later. E-readers, smart phones and tablets can utilize the format and this expands the number of people that can be reached.
Follow these simple guidelines to make your posted document optimized for indexing by the search engines :
1. The document to be converted to must be text based (written in a text editor). You can check if your pdf can be indexed by using a pdf reader’s search function. Look for a word that appears in the document and search for it. If that word cannot be found, chances are the written content was converted from a graphic and very likely can’t be indexed.
2. Keyword optimization : apply the best practices for optimizing keywords in a document. The same rules for writing an optimized article for a website applies here.
3. The pdf title and file name should be relevant to the content of the document and should contain your primary keyword. Its good practice to be consistent in your naming conventions so that your pdf can be easily categorized.
4. Ensure the internal tags for your document are present. If you’re using the full version of Acrobat, select Advanced>Accessibility>Add Tags to Document. Options on what you can tag will appear. Fill all the applicable fields completely.
5. Size : while there is no fixed recommendation for size, bear in mind that you want users to be able download your file in a reasonable amount of time. A smaller file size will also give search engine crawlers an easier time and let them finish their job faster. You’ll need to strike a balance between size and the amount of information that will make your pdf attractive and useful to your subscribers.
6. PDF details : do not leave this blank. Put in the appropriate information in the: filename; title; author; subject; and keywords. Ensure the title is filled up and has your primary keyword in it. This is what the search engines will use to identify your pdf and its what will appear in the search engine results page.