PDFs are particularly significant in B2B marketing, which makes optimizing them for the web is an important piece of SEO strategy in that sector. Thankfully, Galen de Young of Francis Marketing has a new post on optimizing PDFs on their B2B marketing blog.
Here are the key take away points from Galen's post:
Make sure your PDFs are text-based. Creating a PDF from a Microsoft Word document should be ok, but when you get into other programs like InDesign or Quark, then you run into text-based issues. And, as always, optimize the copy to reflect the targeted keywords.
Pay attention to Accessibility. The accessibility tools can be found under the advanced options. With them, you can order the priority of text on a page and create alt tags for images.
Customize your PDF properties. The title in the properties becomes the title tag, not the title of the file, so be sure to write an optimized title for your PDF properties. This is what searchers will see in the results of their favorite search engine.
Don't forget about usability. Optimization of a PDF is only good if web users can read it. Be aware that not everyone has the latest version of Adobe Reader. Save your PDF at a version lower than the most recent update. Also, make sure file sizes are as compressed as possible and use properties to see if you have a "fast web view." If not, go to your General Settings panel under preferences to make it web-friendly.
Specify the reading order. This helps search engines know which part of the text is most important on your page. Also, if your first paragraph wouldn't make a great description tag, consider creating a footer and making it number 1 in the reading order.
Other quick tips include:
- Build links into PDFs (and be sure to verify them!)
- Keep links to PDFs closer to the root level of the site's file structure
- Use keyword-rich anchor text to link to PDFs
- Don't do anything in a PDF that you wouldn't do in a web page
PDFs can be forgotten when developing or redesigning a web site and lost in a greater SEM strategy. But when properly optimized they can be a powerful content tool for your business.
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