How would you Search Engine Optimize a document like a PDF?
The other day I was asked by a client “How would you Search Engine Optimize a document like a PDF?“.
I thanked him for a great question, and I explained that it’s very smilier to how you would optimise a standard web page.
After some research this seemed to be a common question people were asking, so today I would like to answer “ How To Get A PDF Indexed By Google? “ in 5 simple steps.
1. Make Your Content:
The first step to getting a PDF indexed with search engines is to make the content! Sounds silly but it true When making a PDF Files you must remember that they are typically downloaded and stored by users, so they can read them later or share them, online or offline. One-shot content is ideal for PDF Files. One-shot content like lists, guides, reports, journals and case studies. If it any other type of content you’re better off putting the content into a web page and indexing it instead of a PDF File.
Next, take your content and save it as a PDF File. Most word processing programs can save word documents as PDF Files.
2. Optimize PDF File for Google Search
Your Second step to index a PDF File is to optimise it
Its a lot like how you would optimise a standard web page:
Create and set unique metadata:
Create a title with less than 55 characters and a Description with 150 characters in length.
Make sure that there is a higher text to image ratio, in the PDF:
I recommend one image to every 500 words of text, just for an even balance. Like web pages, search engines can index and rank you based on text content, but not on the image content.
3. Upload PDF File to Web Site
Your third step is to publish it live to the world, uploading the file to your website. You can host it anywhere that is available for the public use. (This includes Cloud Services and other hosting options)
Once you’ve published the PDF, copy the address/path to the file on your hosting this is where it is stored. Then try to load it in your browser, if you can’t view the PDF in your browser, ask your hosting provider and get that PDF showing. Search engines will try and load the file in the same way a browser does. This can be a great way to confirm that the search engines can find your PDF.
4. Ensure PDF File is Visible to Google Search Bots
The fourth step log in to Google Search Console (webmaster tools) using your Google Account that is connected to the business, You must have your site verified as a property with Google Search Console to proceed. In the coming weeks I will be publishing an article on how to get performance data (free) for your site from Google’s Search Console, but till then, you can visit their official website.
5. Submit PDF File to Google Search Index
Once in the Google Search Console account for your company, click on the site property and on the left-hand sidebar navigate to the “Crawl >> Fetch as Google” tool. You can use this tool to force Google’s bots to “Crawl” the PDF File immediately. (this saves you waiting around for Google to “naturally” crawl the PDF File).
So that’s “ How to submit a PDF to Google’s Index? ”. It is pretty simple once you get your head around it and now your PDFs will be optimised and show up in Google’s Search Results Pages.
Please leave us a comment if you have any questions or if you have anything to add.