While HTML pages are still the preferred way for websites to host their content, search engines have gotten better at reading and ranking PDF files in their results over the years. This does not mean that you should go out there and start making a lot of your content in PDF form, but it does mean that if you properly optimize them, PDFs have a chance of showing up on the search engines for your keywords. There are some perfectly good reasons to use PDFs in your website:
What makes PDFs harder for search engines to rank is that they are not set up specifically to have the meta description areas that are key indicators to search engines about what the page is about. This limits your ability to show the search engines exactly what the page is about. That being said, you should treat your PDFs just like normal content and optimize them accordingly so that they are dense with your keywords and have links pointing to them and links pointing from the PDF back to your website. This also means that there has to be GOOD content on the page that people want to read, and it has to be long enough to be deemed quality content by the search engines. Also make sure that this is not duplicate content, if you are creating a downloadable PDF of content you already have in HTML, make sure to paraphrase accordingly to avoid causing duplicate content issues.
Here are the other places you should make sure are done properly to ensure the best possibility for your page to rank:
If you do decide to convert your PDFs into HTML pages, make sure you properly redirect your PDF to the corresponding HTML page. This will prevent you from losing ranks from
How to Use This Information:
To properly optimize your PDFs, follow these guidelines and optimize them to the standards you would if you were optimizing an HTML page. If you have a lot of PDFs on your website and would like help optimizing them or converting them to HTML, Webolutions can help. We can also help if you are looking to create a new website and would like help deciding what to do with your PDFs. Have any other tips about optimizing PDFs? Feel free to leave a note in the comments!
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