5 Helpful Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly

September 17, 2020
5 Helpful Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly

5 Helpful Tips to Make Your PDFs SEO Friendly

There was a time when people belief that Google found PDFs impenetrable.

That myth has since been unceremoniously busted by Google in 2011 when they reported that:

“Google first started indexing PDF files in 2001 and currently has hundreds of millions of PDF files indexed.”

They even come with their own tag in SERPs to alarm users that the result is PDF-based:


This opens up a growing chance to increase traffic with existing and new PDF content over your site.

But, you’ll have to follow these 5 SEO optimization tips for PDF files to have the best chance of ranking.

How to Make Your PDFs SEO-Friendly

Optimization for PDFs follows much of the same best practices as “traditional” SEO.

However, the details vary in some critical ways, which are highlighted below.

1. Compress Your PDF File to Reduce File Size

In particular, ensure your file isn’t already optimized for speed.

Check If Your PDF Is Optimized


Like a website page, decreasing a PDF’s document size is very difficult.

Ensure your PDF is optimized for the web.

Fortunately, this is a simple process:

  • Open your PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  • Select File.
  • Select Properties.
  • Go to the Descriptions tab.
  • Find the “Fast Web View” at the bottom of the window. If it says “No”, the PDF file needs to be optimized.

Optimize PDF Fonts

Use Standard Fonts

PDF readers support a set of standard fonts:

  • Times.
  • Helvetica
  • Courer
  • Symbol
  • Zapf Dingbats.
  • Any other fonts will likely have to be embedded, and that increases your file size.

You can decide not to install any fonts, but then Adobe Acrobat will substitute a standard font for you.

Because a significant allure of PDFs is the granular control the format bears you, you are going to be missing out one of the main reasons to utilize the format in the first place if you surrender font control to Acrobat itself.

Optimize PDF Images

Use Vector-Based Images

Vector-based pictures are smaller in size and of higher quality than bitmap pictures.

Utilize Monochrome Bitmap Images

If you should utilize bitmaps, make them monochrome and not color to guarantee they’re as small as they can be.

2. Keyword Rich File Name

Treat your file name like you would a URL or H1.

That implies making your file name keyword relevant and search-friendly.

While your Google Doc might be called SEO Best Practices, your PDF file name should be: SEO-best-practices.pdf.

Here are a few file naming best practices:

  • Shorter is better. Ideal file name is between 50-60 characters.
  • Match the URL to the title of the PDF whenever the situation allows.
  • As a best practice, remove punctuation, hashes, and stop words (and, or, if, of, the, an, etc.).
  • Use lower case consistently.
  • When separate words, use hyphens if possible. An underscore is also satisfactory.

3. Heading Tags

PDFs can contain bunches of top to bottom data so content should be parted ways with subheadings.

Here are some best practices for assigning heading tags to your content:

A H1 tag functions as a headline on the page. Should be special to the page.

Maximum length of around 100 characters, but normally more concise.

Should always contain and usually start with the primary keyword.

H2, H3, and other sub-heads are utilized to break body copy into smaller chunks.

4. Use Alt Text For Images

Alt text is the text that shows up instead of a picture on a site if the picture doesn’t load.

Alt text is significant because it:

  • Helps screen-reading tools describe pictures for the visually impaired.
  • Let’s search engines better crawl and rank your site.

To use alt text, do the following:

  • Select the Tools menu.
  • Select Action Wizard.
  • Select Make Accessible.
  • Click Set Alternative Text.

The key to writing alt text is to be:

  • Succinct
  • Descriptive
  • Keyword-rich, but not keyword-stuffed

5. Set Reading Language

To set the reading language, open the Document Properties dialog:

Choose File > Properties.

Select a language from the Language menu in the Reading Options area of the Advanced tab.

Activate the OK button.

Conclusion: PDF SEO Best Practices

Google knows PDFs can be helpful.

That is the reason Google indexes PDFs and transforms some of them into featured snippets.

You should treat your PDFs with a similar level of love as Google does.

By using the previously mentioned tips, you’ll make it simpler for both Google and your users to discover and rightfully appreciate your work.

We at CodeLedge, are the experts of SEO Marketing services in Sweden. If you are aware of what to do for your successful marketing strategy. Feel free to talk with us at hi@codeledge.com or get a quote from here.

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