5+1 Tips to Improve the SEO of a PDF Documents

Over the years the myth that PDF documents are ‘bad’ for SEO has become so prevalent that many people don’t even bother trying to optimise them. That is unfortunate, as the fact of the matter is that search engines to crawl, index, and rank PDF documents – and with the right optimisation, they can perform quite well.

Make no mistake that does not mean that PDF is better than HTML, or even preferable. Instead, what it means is that if you are serving PDF documents in any form on your website – improving their SEO can help them to perform much better and rank much higher on search engines.

Make Sure the PDF is Text-Based

If you want to start to improve the SEO of PDF documents, the first thing to remember is that text always outperforms images as far as search engines are concerned. That is especially important when it comes to PDFs that are scanned documents, as they often are image-based as opposed to text-based.

Assuming your PDF is image-based you should convert it to a text-based PDF. That can be done quickly using a variety of tools – including Adobe Acrobat itself.

Any images that remain in the PDF document afterwards should be contextualised for search engines as well using alternative text to describe it. Mostly that works the same as the alt text is used for images in HTML.

Use the PDF Document Properties as Metadata

In HTML documents there are certain types of metadata that search engines find useful, mainly the title and description tags. What you may not realise is that PDFs store similar data as well – as part of their document properties.

As far as possible you should make it a point to fill out all the available document properties – through the ‘Title’ field that corresponds to the title tag and ‘Subject’ field that corresponds to the description tag are the most important. Other fields such as the ‘Author’ and ‘Keywords’ may have limited SEO value, but it can’t hurt to fill them out.

Keep in mind that just as with metadata you should be sure to use the keywords you want to rank on in the PDF document properties.

Set a Search-Friendly Filename

Because the filename of the PDF document will be part of its URL, it should be search-friendly as well. All too often PDF document filenames are generic (i.e. Document001.pdf) which is far from conducive as now as SEO is concerned.

Instead of a generic filename, you should make sure your PDF document filename is descriptive – and preferably contains the keyword you want to rank on it. Additionally, you should use dashes (i.e. ‘-‘) to separate words as opposed to underscores (i.e. ‘_’).

Keep the File Size Small

Nowadays one of the most critical factors that affect search engine rankings is the page speed – which is a measure of how fast a webpage load. Due to that fact you will want to keep the file size of your PDF documents as small as possible – typically aiming for 15 MB or less.

There are a variety of factors that can affect the file size of PDF documents, but one of the main areas that can often be improved is the number of images it contains. In some cases removing pictures or replacing them with more compressed JPG images can help reduce the file size of a document by quite a bit.

Aside from that if the PDF document itself is hugely long, you may want to consider splitting it into smaller documents instead so that each one loads faster.

Link To and From the Document

It goes without saying that if you want search engines to crawl and index a PDF document on your website – there need to be links pointing to it. Typically you will want the anchor to be descriptive and indicate that it is a PDF as well, just for the sake of informing readers and search engines of that fact.

On top of that, however, you should try to link back to your website from within the PDF document as well – which is something that is also often neglected. Because PDF documents don’t typically include the navigation that is present on HTML pages, providing links back to your website will make it appear to be more a part of the site than an orphaned page.

Standard SEO Rules Apply

As you’ve probably gathered by this point, search engines will similarly treat PDF documents to HTML web pages – and so most of the standard SEO rules apply. In particular, you’ll want to pay attention to the keywords you use, avoid duplicate content, link to relevant content, and so on.

If you make it a point to follow everything listed above – your PDF documents should have no trouble ranking on search engines. It will help to track their performance, however, and try to find ways in which you can improve on them further.

In some cases, you may want to be able to quickly edit and make alterations to the PDF documents that you publish, in which case you could try Movavi PDF Editor. It is a lightweight and straightforward PDF editor that will equip you with the core tools you need to manage and edit your PDF documents.

After you download PDF editor and install it, you will be able to use its features to add, delete, or rearrange the pages in PDF documents. Additionally, Movavi PDF Editor will let you insert images, append pages, or extract pages from PDF documents to save as separate documents or photographs as well.

To put it merely Movavi PDF Editor is an excellent tool that will give you the means to make changes to your PDF documents as and when you require. Because of its intuitive approach, you will be able to alter your records as needed quickly and won’t need to rely on more complicated (and often expensive) software to edit them.


Hopefully, now you got some proven strategies for improving the SEO of PDF documents, while writing on your next PDF documents keep these tips in your mind so it will be helpful to produce an SEO optimized document that’ll help you to easily to rank on Google. If you liked this post then do share it with your colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And don’t forget to stumble upon this page to reach maximum peoples who barely need such kind of tips.

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