Today’s search engines can scan PDF documents (whereas a few years ago they did not), but they are not as optimal as HTML content pages. That being said, if you have to have PDF pages on your website, there are several things you can do to ensure they help you on the SEO front (or at least don’t hurt you) as much as possible.
- Always use text-based PDFs that you can easily copy-and-paste versus PDFs comprised of pictures of text.
- Choose an SEO-friendly, key-word rich file name without the use of underscores. The file name will often become part of the page URL and Google has clearly stated that when it comes to URL structure, using hyphens rather than underscores makes it much easier for them to identify what the page is about. So, if you have to separate words in a file name, use a hyphen.
- Properly set the document properties of your PDF files. Pay proper attention to the ‘title’ tag and enter appropriate key-words.
- Ensure the copy within the PDF document is key-word rich.
- Capitalize on opportunities to create links, both in the PDF to other pages of your website and from other pages of your website to the PDF. Links to your PDF can help give it some authority. Links from your PDF to other pages in your site, well that’s just common sense, but please keep the links relevant.