Optimizing PDFs for search engines is not much different from optimizing other content on the site.
Here are 5 tips that will help you to optimize your PDF files for the best possible search engine visibility:
1. Include your keywords
It is important to use relevant keywords and phrases in the headlines, sub-headlines and actual content of the PDF just like on any web page you create. If there are pictures in the PDF, then include keywords in the captions that are located underneath the images. One simple, and yet often overlooked trick, is to include keywords in the file name before uploading it.
Of course, it is important not to sacrifice quality and readability for keywords, so do not over do it. Also, most PDF creation software offers document meta data which can be used.
2. Create text-based PDF files
The key factor is how the PDF itself is created. It is very important to create the PDF in a text-based program like Microsoft Word or Adobe Pagemaker so that you can include actual text in the final product that will be able to be crawled by search engines. If you are making your PDFs in Adobe Photoshop, you are only making image files and search engines cannot crawl the text in images.
3. Make it easy for search engines to find the PDF
When placing the PDF on your site, do not bury it deep into the content of the website, but instead, keep it close to the root directory so that the search engines can easily access it.
You should also insert links to the PDF on one or several of your most read pages. If you really want it to get read and searched, then include a link to the PDF on your homepage. This way the crawler will find it fast and easy. You are actually placing it in the direct sights of the crawler, not making the crawler search the entire site in order to see if there is anything new as far as content is concerned.
4. Use links wisely
Another good idea is to add links to content on your site into the PDFs, because they will be crawled as well. In Acrobat, you can put links into the PDF so that the person viewing the PDF can be linked directly to another part of your site, like the online store, for example. You can also add links to the homepage and important content on the site.
5. Size matters
Avoid creating enormous PDF files. People do not want to download giant files from sites and search engines do not want to crawl giant PDFs either. Abode Acrobat has a feature in its PDF Optimizer section that will “right-size“ the document.
It is not necessarry to make the flashy PDFs. In fact, it’s better if there are no huge images or colorful fonts involved. Using exotic and colorful fonts can slow down the work of the search engine, so it is best to work in gray-scale and with base fonts like Times New Roman and Courier.
Remember, if you want to make your PDFs search-friendly, simplicity is the key.