Make PDFs SEO Friendly

Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly: Professional Best Practices

Are you looking to make your PDFs more search-engine friendly? In this blog post, we’ll provide tips on how to make your PDFs SEO-friendly. From choosing the right filename and utilizing metadata to ensuring they don’t cause duplicate content issues or be saved as images – we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive guide! 

We’ll also discuss when it’s best to use a PDF for maximum optimization potential so readers can easily find what they’re searching for. Read on now for some great tips about making your pdfs SEO-friendly!

Make PDFs SEO Friendly

When Should You Use a PDF?

PDFs are a great way to share information with your audience, but when should you use them? 

Google first started indexing PDFs in 2001. PDFs can be used for various purposes, from displaying product catalogs and brochures to providing detailed instructions or tutorials. They’re also an excellent choice for SEO purposes as they can help boost your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs).

When deciding whether or not to use a PDF, consider the type of content you’re sharing. If long-form content is broken down into smaller sections, then PDF is the best option. It will also make it easier for users to find specific information within the document without scrolling through large amounts of text on one page. 

Additionally, if you want readers to take action after reading your content – such as signing up for an email list or downloading something – then using a PDF could be beneficial as it allows users to save and access documents offline easily.

How Google Treats Pdfs? 

Google is a search engine that crawls and indexes web pages. It can also crawl PDFs, but how it treats them differs from regular pages.

PDFs vs. Pages

Google tends to prefer the page version of content if there are duplicate versions in both PDF and webpage formats. This means that signals will be consolidated to the page version, and this will be the version that shows up in search results.

Indexing Images

Google uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to convert images of text into text so they can be indexed as HTML documents. In addition, images within PDFs are also indexed in image search results.

Compatibility & Consistency

One advantage of using PDFs over webpages is compatibility; they work on nearly any device and maintain their visual look across platforms. However, for new content created specifically for the web, consider using webpages instead of PDFs, as these are more likely to show up higher in search engine rankings than static files such as PDFs do.

Why Aren’t Pdfs Great For SEO? 

The major disadvantage of PDFs is listed below, which makes them not great for SEO. 

  • Limited Crawlability And Indexation

One major disadvantage of PDFs is their limited crawl ability and indexation by search engines like Google. Unlike web pages, which are typically written in HTML, PDFs are a proprietary format that requires specialized software to read them—software that search engine crawlers don’t have access to. 

As a result, they can only partially understand the content inside PDF files, making it difficult for them to properly index the document or rank it appropriately in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). If you want your content to be found on Google, relying solely on PDFs isn’t cut it.

  • Poor Interlinking Structure 

Another area for improvement with using PDFs for SEO purposes is their poor interlinking structure compared to web pages written in HTML code. 

Webpages use hyperlinks within the text body, navigation menus, and other elements such as breadcrumbs and sitemaps—all of which help search engine crawlers navigate through websites more easily and quickly identify related content. 

On the other hand, because most PDF documents need to include these features or offer limited support at best, they can become an obstacle when trying to optimize your website’s internal linking structure from an SEO perspective.

  • Updating Is Difficult 

Updating existing information stored in a single large-sized file such as a PDF requires re-uploading the entire document each time changes need to be made—which not only makes this process cumbersome but also prevents users from accessing up-to-date versions of documents unless they download them again from scratch every time there’s an update available online.

Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly

The top tips to make your PDFs SEO-friendly are listed below. Hopefully, they will be very beneficial for you. 

#1. Write Good Content 

The mission of Google is to organize the world’s information. Good content is good content, even if it isn’t on a website. I’ve seen a lot of great content in PDFs, such as technical documentation, whitepapers, and so on. PDFs contain some of the best information on the internet.

 #2. Choose an SEO Friendly Filename

When it comes to SEO, the filename of a PDF is just as important as its content. A well-chosen filename can help your document appear higher in search engine results and make it easier for people to find.

  • Include Relevant Keywords

To create an SEO-friendly filename, start by including relevant keywords that accurately describe the content of your file. For example, if you are creating a PDF about “search engine optimization tips,” then use those words in the title such as “SEO-tips.pdf” or “seo_tips_2022.pdf”. 

Avoid using generic terms like “document1” or numbers like “123456789,” which don’t provide any information about what’s inside the file and won’t be picked up by search engines.

  • Keep Filenames Short 

In addition to including relevant keywords, keep filenames short but descriptive, so they’re easy for users to remember and type into their browser address bar when searching for them online. 

  • No Spaces Between Words

It’s also best practice not to include spaces between words since this can cause issues with some browsers when accessing the file directly from a URL link – instead, use hyphens (-) or underscores (_).

  • Add Dates

Finally, consider adding dates at the end of filenames if you plan on regularly updating documents with new versions. This will help differentiate between different files over time while still maintaining relevance in search engine results pages (SERPs). 

For example, SEO-tips_2022-07-15 would indicate that this version was created on July 15th, 2022, and could easily be updated later with another date, such as SEO-tips_2022-08-30 once changes have been made without having to change other parts of the filename itself.

#3. Use Headings and Include Relevant Outgoing Links

Headings are an important part of any document, including PDFs. They help readers quickly scan and find the information they need. Headings also structure your content, making it easier for search engines to crawl and index your PDF file. 

When creating headings in a PDF document, make sure that you use relevant keywords so that search engine crawlers can easily identify the page’s topic.

When adding outgoing links within a PDF document, it’s important to be mindful of duplicate content issues. If you link to pages with similar or identical content to what is found on your website, then this could cause problems with SEO rankings due to Google penalizing sites for duplicate content. 

To avoid this issue, make sure that all external links point to unique web pages or other resources that offer value-added information not found elsewhere.

Another tip when using outgoing links in a PDF is to ensure they open up in new windows or tabs instead of replacing the current window/tab contents. 

In addition, if possible, try linking back to other related pages located on your website whenever appropriate, as this helps build internal connections between different parts of your online presence and strengthens overall SEO performance by increasing relevance signals sent by each page connected via hyperlinks (both incoming & outgoing).

Finally, remember to optimize images used inside a PDF file. Ensure all graphics included have descriptive alt text so visually impaired visitors can still understand what is being presented. 

Additionally, image filenames should include relevant keywords, as these will be indexed along with everything else inside each page, including headings and body copy.

 #4. Don’t Save PDF Files as Images

When creating a PDF file, it is important not to save the document as an image. This can have a negative impact on SEO performance and make it difficult for search engines to index the content of your PDFs.

Saving a PDF as an image means that search engine crawlers will only be able to recognize the text in your document as an image rather than being able to read and interpret its contents. As such, any keywords or phrases used within the body of your PDF will not be indexed by search engines, meaning they won’t appear in relevant searches.

PDFs should also never be saved with images embedded into them; again, it is impossible for crawlers to read their contents accurately and may lead to poor rankings in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). 

Ensure that you keep file sizes small so that people don’t experience long loading times when opening up documents on slower connections – this could negatively affect user experience, resulting in fewer conversions over time.

#5. Optimize for Mobile and File Size

To ensure optimal performance on mobile devices, reduce the size of large files before uploading them online using tools such as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC or SmallPDF Compressor tool which allows users to compress multiple files at once without compromising quality or readability. 

Additionally, if possible, convert any vector graphics used in the document into rasterized images since these tend to have smaller file sizes than vector formats such as EPS or AI files while still maintaining good quality visuals on-screen displays regardless of the device type being used by visitors viewing your site’s content.

To ensure your PDFs are easily accessible on all devices, optimizing for mobile and file size is essential. 

 #6. Utilize Metadata

Metadata is a powerful tool for optimizing PDFs for SEO. Metadata provides search engines with the information they need to properly index and ranks your content, which can help improve visibility in organic search results.

  • Include Relevant Information 

When adding metadata to a PDF file, it’s important to include all relevant information, such as author name, title, description, keywords, and other related data. This helps ensure that search engines accurately index the document so users can find it more easily when searching online. 

Additionally, including descriptive titles and descriptions will make it easier for people to decide whether or not they want to open the document before downloading it.

  • Include Keywords 

Including keywords in metadata also has an impact on SEO performance because these words are used by search engine algorithms when ranking documents in their indexes. 

For example, if you have a PDF about web design best practices that include “web design” as one of its keywords, it will increase its chances of appearing higher up in SERPs (search engine result pages). 

It’s important to note that keyword stuffing should be avoided at all costs, as this could lead to penalties from Google or other major search engines.

  • Make Sure Metadata Is Accurate And Up To Date

It’s also worth noting that some browsers may display certain types of metadata within the browser window itself rather than just relying on the contents of the actual file being downloaded – such as displaying an author name next to a link instead of just showing “PDF File” or something similar – so making sure your metadata is accurate and up-to-date can be beneficial here too.

Overall, correctly utilizing metadata can help improve SEO performance for any PDF file; however, care must be taken not to overstuff irrelevant terms or phrases, as this could result in penalties from Google and other major search engines.

#7. Compress Your PDF Documents 

Load speed is very important in search engine ranking. It’s one of the most important factors in ranking well in search because users expect pages to load quickly. If your PDF file includes images, even if they are not image-based, it will load slowly. When it comes to SEO, there are better signs than this. You must find a way to reduce the size of your PDF.

#8. Integrate PDF Files In Your Website

Making your PDF files an integral part of your website is part of optimizing them. This means they, like regular pages, must be linked to from within your website. Internal links will transfer link authority to the PDF file, allowing it to rank for relevant keywords.

#9. Prevent Duplicate Content: Canonicalize PDF Files

Because PDF files are treated as normal pages, they can also result in duplicate content. Pages and PDF files can compete in the same way that two pages can. If the PDF file is a copy of the content elsewhere, use the canonical URL in the HTTP header to notify search engines.

FAQs About “Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly”

Yes, PDFs can be SEO-friendly. Search engines can crawl and index the content of a PDF file as long as it is properly formatted and optimized for search engine visibility. 

This includes using descriptive titles, relevant keywords in headings and body text, meta tags, alt text for images, and internal links within the document. Additionally, ensuring that your PDF is hosted on a secure server will help improve its ranking potential with search engines.

Yes, PDFs can be indexed by search engines. Search engine crawlers can extract the text from a PDF and index it in their database. However, for optimal SEO performance, you should ensure that your PDFs have proper meta tags and titles so users can easily find them for related topics. 

Additionally, if you want to maximize the visibility of your PDF content on search engines, consider creating HTML versions of the documents and providing links to them on other pages of your website.

To improve the quality of a PDF, start by ensuring that it is optimized for web viewing. This includes reducing file size and using appropriate compression techniques to reduce download time. Additionally, ensure all images are properly scaled and formatted for optimal display on different devices. 

Finally, use clear headings and structure the content logically so readers can easily find what they want. Following these steps will ensure your PDFs are easy to read and look great no matter where they’re viewed!


In conclusion, when creating PDFs for your website, there are several steps you can take to make them SEO friendly. Following the above-listed tips to make your pdfs SEO friendly will help increase the visibility of your documents in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Are you looking for ways to make your PDFs SEO-friendly? Let us help! Our experts can provide comprehensive solutions that will improve the visibility of your PDFs in search engine results. 

We specialize in search engine optimization, site architecture, website usability, and user experience (UX) – all designed to ensure maximum exposure for your documents online. Contact us today and start optimizing the visibility of your content on the web!

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