SEO friendly E-Books and PDF”s are a new and very effective way of creating backlinks. Unfortunately, I started creating E-Books and PDF’s at a very later stage. I should have done this from the start of this blog. I do not want you guys to make the same mistake, so start early. Optimizing PDF files is a bit different from normal page SEO, so pay attention here.

Does Google read your PDF’s or E-Books?

Once upon a time, it was thought that Google can not read any of the PDF’s or E-Book’s content.

Similar to the way that Google can’t read images and you have to use Alt Text. However, when talking about PDF’s it’s a different story altogether.

SEO friendly E-Books and PDF’s is not a myth anymore. Google reads them and better than us.

Unlike you might think that Google cannot read a non-HTML document, its the other way around. Google started reading PDF’s and E-Books back in 2011. If you remember I wrote about the Google updates in the year 2011.

If you search for a guide in Google search you often get results with tags. For e.g. look at the image below.

PDF tag in Google search
Google already tells you that the link is a PDF file

If Google is reading all your documents, then the question is how do you optimize your files?

Optimizing PDF files is a different ball game. I would say that the SEO parameters remain the same, however, it differs from traditional page SEO methods.

Let me show you how I have leveraged some of my SEO knowledge for optimizing PDFs for searches.

The file name game!

Naming a file is important not just while creating PDF’s but when every you are creating any sort of file. Google reads them first to get an idea of what the content is all about.

name your PDF file. That's how Google will know what the PDF is all about.
Make sure that you do keyword research before saving the PDF file.

I would suggest you do some keyword research before you name your PDF document. Google is going to look at your file name first so make sure that it has your chosen keywords.

Also, this file name will be at the end of the link, and we all know the relevance of an SEO optimized URL’s. So, make sure that you have keywords in PDF’s name.

Most noteworthy, make sure that the first letter of each keyword in the PDF’s filename is in caps.

Internal linking of your PDF’s

In my previous articles on SEO 2019 & beyond we talked about the importance of internal links. Similarly, you do not want to keep your PDF’s aloof from other pages, posts of links.

it is important to link your PDF internally with multiple pages, posts and locations | SEO friendly E-Books & PDF's
Your PDF should not be an orphaned document

At the end of the day, we should have an orphaned PDF or E-Book linked to nothing on your website.

These documents are meant to be downloaded by your visitors, so these are high-value resources on your website. Visitors should have access to these documents at multiple places.

You will get a lot of SEO boost provided you link the document to the correct topic of discussion & using the apt anchor text.

Link the document with a strategy

Do not go around randomly linking documents to content which is not relevant to your document. Google hates this and your content might not be seen in the searches ever.

Also, while creating PDF”s make sure that you are embedding links in the documents. Your PDF is a high-value asset that might be linked to by a lot of websites. This will get you a ridiculous amount of organic traffic. Besides the fact that you will be gaining authority and ranking.

Optimize the title in your PDF

This is perhaps the most important part of optimizing your PDF’s. This is the most basic task to do when you are doing SEO. If you remember I did that in one of my previous article which was about creating title tags.

Place where you can add title tag and keywords for your PDF document | SEO friendly E-Books & PDF's
The place to add title and keywords in PDF’s

The above image shows how you can add title tags in your PDF file. It also allows you to insert keywords for your document.

Now a title for SEO friendly PDFs can be set in the “Document Properties”. Google looks at the title the same as it looks at title tags in HTML pages. If you look at the screenshot above in starting the link after PDF tag is the title which we are talking about.

This should compel the user to click on the link to get access to your PDF.

Optimizing PDF files for mobile

You must be thinking that PDFs are by default optimized for mobile. This is the truth, however, I am talking about something else here. SEO friendly E-Books or PDFs are not optimized for mobile by default. There are few things that should be kept in mind while creating these.

PDFs are not by default optimized for mobile

Make sure that the size of your PDF document is easily downloadable on mobile. A heavy document will take a lot of time to download and the user will lose its interest.

Ensure that the images are compressed to the utmost minimum without losing their resolution.

Mobile generally serves content which are in bytes, heavy content loses its value as no one likes to wait in today’s world. So make your PDFs light.

Image Optimization

Your PDF will have a lot of images. Moreover, the importance of infographics is well known to us. People like infographics more than normal text.

This is exactly why you need to have a lot of images in your PDF. However, make sure that you do not use heavy images in your PDF. Optimize your images to the lowest storage capacity without compromising the quality of the images.

I use photoshop to compress my images. I have tried online converters too, however, nothing works as good as photoshop. Optimizing PDF files include this very important task of optimizing images. Do not overlook this task.

Break up your content

Your PDF will be packed with a lot of information. Along with using images make sure that you break your content to make it easy for your visitors to understand.

A proper combination of optimized images and text where ever necessary is required. Do not write lengthy paragraphs. I would suggest not more than 3 to 4 lines in a paragraph.

Also, ensure that every important point is written in proper heading formats. These headings and subheadings are important. These will grab the attention of the user in the first go.

Use text and not just images

Your PDF will have images that are by default. However, I suggest that do not keep all your text in an image that Google can’t read.

We can read the text in the images, however, Google can not. Google bots just look are the alt tag of the image.

Google is getting better in reading images however it is the text which is preferred by Google bots.

Use images, but try and use the text outside the image in the PDF body and not in the image. Google will be able to crawl your PDF much better.

Alt text for images in the PDF

What if I tell you that you can set alt text for all the images in your PDF. Yes, this is possible.

All the images which you are using can be optimized with certain software. I am not talking about the title of PDF which you can optimize as discussed earlier in the article.

This is different!

How? Well, there are ways and software by which you can do this. There is an interesting guide by W3 on setting alt text for your PDF images.

If your ranking does not improve by setting title in the PDF, you can certainly make use of your images and write alt text to boost your ranking.

Performance Tracking of Your PDF

I love doing this. This tells me how my PDFs are performing on incoming traffic? How many people are downloading my PDFs? What path are they taking to reach to my PDF?

All these questions have the answers hidden in Google analytics. You can set goals in analytics to track these granular performances. This will give you amazing insight into your website performance.

Consider a visitor which downloads your PDF, he/she is going to be a permanent visitor to your website. This also helps in increasing the return visitor count.

So, folks, this was all about the SEO friendly PDFs. Whatever we discussed herein will help you in optimizing PDF files for your website. If there is something that I missed please let me know in the comments section below. This would help in revising this document.


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