This is a great question I hear all the time from our clients.
The quick answer is, Yes. All search engines can read PDF files, if they are optimized.
Here are a few tips on How to Optimize your PDF for SEO:
- Don’t use Photoshop! Create your PDF in a text based program like Microsoft Word or Adobe Pagemaker. If you create your PDF in Photoshop, it is considered a large image and is not an actual readable PDF.
- Use basic SEO principles. Optimize your title, header tags and descriptions.
There are a few ways to do this.
- If you are working in Microsoft Word, use the H1, H2, H3 tags provided where necessary.
- Also, make sure that when you go into Adobe Acrobat you fill out the proper description fields. This means adding a title, subject and keywords into the appropriate content fields.
- Title your PDF with a keyword, for example it should be named keyword.pdf.
- And, lastly create alt text and captions for any images used in the document.
- Make the PDF prominent. Don’t bury the PDF on your site. Make sure that you create a link to the PDF from a page on your site that is crawled often, like your homepage.
There has been a bit of discussion about how well a PDF will rank compared to html content. And, while we recommend html over a PDF, there have been cases where a PDF ranked for a certain search term quicker than the html version, however, eventually the HTML landed at the top.
Photo Credit: By liesvanrompaey