The Secrets To Optimize a PDF For the Web


Pdf stands for the Portable Document Format, an easy medium to share the information over the Internet. Pdf is very popular file format which is widely accepted around the world. Many organizations produce product brochures, tutorials, guides etc. in the form of Pdf files due to their easy portability.

In the Seo industry, pdf files are used for off page submission, however with low-quality content mostly. Many marketers just neglect the on-site optimization of them.

On the other hand, I have seen many Pdf files containing the highly quality and well-researched data. The marketers should share quality documents because search engines also pay attention to the Pdf files and index them in the SERP. Therefore, it becomes important to pay close attention to the on-page optimization of the Pdf files.

Marketers have different views on the pdf optimization. Let’s see what they say about it.

“Search engines love only HTML data. They feel difficulty to crawling and indexing the Pdf files.”

However, the truth is that Pdf files get index in the Google and enjoy the high ranking if contains the quality content.

pdf index

Why should You Optimize Pdf for Web?

You get a golden chance to rank in the Search engine results page. By this way, you can improve the visibility of your site in search engine.

Many organization produce the Pdf files in the form of press release, product manuals etc. These documents can also generate traffic to your business. In simple words, you can widen your reach towards your prospects. While Pdf Seo can get you these benefits, then why should leave out those documents un-optimized. Optimizing them in a proper way will give a boost to the search engine ranking.

If we look at the off-page SEO benefits, then submission of well-optimized Pdf will improve the performance of your SEO efforts.

Now, learn how to optimize pdf for web. But first we must have known What is an optimized Pdf?

What is an Optimized Pdf?

An optimized pdf is the one which adhere almost all the standards of the SEO and contains well-organized information readers are looking for. A pdf should also have optimized for the size because larger files take time in loading.

How to Optimize Pdf for Web?

To optimize Pdf for web, you need to note the following things to make a Pdf search engine friendly.

  1. Seo friendly Name and URL
  2. File location
  3. Interlinking
  4. Meta properties
  5. Link back to pages of your site and relevant Web pages
  6. Write protected
  7. Avoid Duplicate content
  8. Insert images
  9. Some Other Tips

1. Seo friendly Name and URL

The document name and the URL have a close connection. If you don’t specify the URL separately, the name becomes the URL of the document. You should use the SEO friendly name for the documents, so you don’t have to be cautious for the URL optimization of the URLs. Use the keyword in the name, resultant it will start to appear in the URL (if the name and URL are the same).

In case, you write a name, such as

A Simple Guide for Keyword Research’, then prefers to have URL, such as “simple-guide-keyword-research”.

At the time of Pdf submission, you don’t hold the control on URLs, so better to write the descriptive name in the limited words. The same name will show as the title and the URL of the document in the search engines.

2. File location

In order to crawl and index the document, Google has to access your site server. If the file is located deeper in the server (e.g. files / upload / important / production / finance /presentation/abc.pdf), it would be hectic for bots to locate and crawling the document. At the instance of recrawling, the Google bot has to follow the same path.

Just make sure, your file is located near to the home directory (e.g., so it could be accessed easily.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that link this file to an already indexed page. This way Google bot can access the file by following the link.

3. Interlinking

If the file contains many pages, interlinking among relevant pages offer improvised user experience. Readers can directly navigate through the pages.

4. Fill Meta Properties of the Document:

You should fill the Meta details of the Pdf. However, the searches engines use the title of the document files to rank them. However, offering the additional details about the Title, keywords, Author and all make easy the search engine’s work.

By filling the Meta details, you are providing the extra details about your file. It’s beneficial in the case while you’re hosting the file on your website server. You won’t get any additional space to fill out these details on your server that you can fill in the document’s Meta properties.

Fortunately, the Adobe Reader provides the facility to enter Meta properties.

To see the Meta properties:

Go to File>Properties>Description

pdf meta properties

Ideally, you can’t edit the details here directly. To do so, use BeCyPDFMetaEdit to edit the Meta properties of the file.

Just open the BeCyPDFMetaEdit after downloading and click on Open.


Choose the file and begin to fill the details for Title, Subject, Author, and keywords fields.

  • Title must contain the targeted keywords
  • Subject can be a different version of the title
  • In the author, you could fill your own name. However, it’s better to have company name if you are concerned about the branding of your company.
  • In keyword field, fill the relevant keywords.

After this process hit the Save button.

Now, if you see the properties of the doc, the changes you made will begin to appear in the description.

5. Link back to Pages of Your Site and Relevant Web Pages

To optimize Pdf for web, you should link back to the pages of your own site. The deep linking will be best in this case. It would help you to get referral traffic to your posts. As an additional benefit, if someone hosts your file to his or her site server, it gives a natural backlink to your inner pages.

Similarly, linking to the other authority sites from your document increase the relevancy of the content.

6.Write Protected

Get each document write-protected otherwise anyone else can replace your links with own. Having a write-protected document will prevent the file from editing. An editable document may lead to reuse of the content.

7. Avoid Duplicate Content

The content of the file should not be copied from any other resources on the web. To get plagiarism free data, you may use the following tools.

8.Insert Images

Using images in the content is beneficial for the readers and SEO perspective. Images draw the readers’ attention and encourage them to read the complete article.

You should take care of proper optimization of the images. Use the alt text in images; it helps searches engines to get the details of them. 

Optimize the size of the image before placing into the document, otherwise, it may increase the loading time.

9. Some Other Tips

Treat pdf’s content as similar to the website’s content. Use the Headings, proper keyword research, and keywords across the content, place the keywords at the beginning and end of the content, content must be informative etc.

To summarize, whatever you have, case study, book, press release, online guides, just to publish them in Pdf format. Pdf files are indexed by Search engines exactly like web pages. As well as optimizing Pdf for the web increase the search engine traffic to your website.

What Next?

Want to Learn more about SEO for your blog or website, Keep reading the following posts:

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11 thoughts on “The Secrets To Optimize a PDF For the Web”

  1. Hello Nikhil,
    Today itself I was reading on Enstine Muki blog about content block and their he mentioned about One very big blogger Matthew that he has a PDF download option of content.

    So can you please tell me how exactly we should go ahead in making it so we can avoid Duplicate content?
    Honestly now am a bit confuse, either I should put the PDF option or now.

    Back to you Mate!! “)

  2. Hi Nikhil

    This is my first visit to your blog. A really great post.

    I never knew what optimized pdf was. An excellent tutorial you have presented.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a nice day!

  3. Hi Nikhil,

    I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever heard about optimizing a PDF but it does make sense. I usually add keywords, descriptions, etc. to my PDFs but again didn’t realize the importance of it.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  4. Hi Nihil Great article and very interesting subject
    I never knew what an optimized pdf was .
    Next time I am writing a pdf I am referring to your
    article. I have written a few but will now know more
    about optimizing them.

    Thanks so much for the valueable info.

  5. Nikhil, thanks for writing this blog post! Now I have a deeper understanding of SEO in pdf files… Previously, I just didn’t care about it!

    Thanks for mentioning your favorite tools for avoiding duplicate content. Which one is the best from your list? I use Unplag duplicate checker and I’m really curious how much these tools differ from each other 🙂


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