Although a majority of PDF content is developed for business to business use, the fact remains this file format is one of the most popular on the Internet. Even the major search engines have been working diligently on effective indexing of PDF content in order to provide their searchers with all relevant content related to applicable search queries.
This means that when a bAlthough a majority of PDF content is developed for business to business use, the fact remains this file format is one of the most popular on the Internet. Even the major search engines have been working diligently on effective indexing of PDF contentusiness or web site owner has commissioned a white paper, case study, or technical articles with the concept of posting those expensive documents online, they are usually done so in the PDF format. One of the reasons they are placed within the confines of the website is presumably so others can find and use them.
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By taking the time to focus on PDF optimization, the content owner can help increase the document’s rankings within the search engine. Focusing just on the following nine techniques for improving the optimization of the document will also help increase the attractiveness and function to the reader.

9 Can’t Fail Techniques to Optimize PDF Files and PDF SEO Tips

  1. Text Not Image: Originally, PDFs were more akin to a photographic copy of the text and images on a page. Many of the conversion programs used to create PDF files from native file formats simply create a giant image. But search engines are not able to effectively index the text data when in image format. So, when optimizing the PDF, make sure to use the proper tools and select the textual portions of the content, marking it as text.
  2. Add a Title: The title on the actual page is different than the title which a search engine’s automatic indexing program is going to read. By going into the document’s properties, one can enter a keyword-rich, attractive title that is more likely to get clicks when listed on the search engine results page.
  3. A Singular Focus: Given the effort required and costs associated with the development of business papers, it is common to end up with many headed hydras of content containing several areas of focus. Some may argue but even for the human reader, attempting too much can be confusing and unattractive. Search engines are all about focused content. One key optimization is to break apart these different subjects and create more tightly focused, smaller PDF documents.
  4. Specify Reading Order: The beauty of PDF technology is that it opens up the palette of the document’s designer. The challenge for the uninitiated is without consciously setting something called the reading order; the search engines may not see the right content for use in its search results descriptions. Fortunately, this can be corrected by telling the search engines which blocks, or elements to read and which order to do so. This usually results in having more control over what descriptions are used.
  5. Tag It: Like HTML web pages, tagging content can enhance a PDF’s index rank. Taking the time to place appropriate descriptors within the Meta information of the document is one way of increasing ranking numbers.
  6. Link It: Be careful that converting a document from another file format to PDF does not lose the hyperlinks originally created. The search engines will count legitimate, working links as back links. Human readers will also have the ability to click and be taken back to the originator’s website if the links in the PDF actually work.
  7. Save It: In the correct version, that is. As with most technologies there is a certain amount of least common denominator at work. Saving ones documents a version or two behind the latest ensures wider acceptance and readability.
  8. Shrink It (PDF size optimize): When optimizing for overall file size, be sure not to go too far. While later versions may have the ability to compress the file ever smaller, one runs into the same challenges of there not being a wide enough audience with the capability to view the file. Programs which separate the image compression from overall file size reduction generally tend to produce smaller files as well.
  9. Don’t Hide It: Meaning, once all this money, time, and effort has been put into creating great content and optimizing the files, make sure it can be easily found on the website. Both for the convenience of the human visitor as well as indexing search engines, optimized PDF content should only be a click or two away from the home page.
Jason Cunningham is a digital media author who is currently focused on how to create PDF files and what the possibilities are with them.
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