5 Tips to Support Your Website With Powerful Pdfs

Are your website’s pdfs contributing to your content goals, its in-site search and overall SEO efforts?  

Pump up your pdfs with these five tips.

1. PDF or webpage?

If the information is critical, it should be conveyed concisely, in plain language on a webpage. Use devices like accordions and page anchors to make long text easier to navigate, or try breaking up long information into several pages.

If a pdf is necessary (i.e. legal conditions, annual report) ensure there's text on the page that describes what's in the pdf document, and include a visual cue like an icon to indicate that it is a pdf.

2. Complete your document's meta data.

Search tools use meta data to index your pdfs, usually using the page title and description fields found in your document’s properties box. Completing the document properties fields, with descriptive text rather than a file number or other internal nomenclature, will ensure that your pdfs can be easily found and identified.

Find out how to enter metadata for Word documents and pdf documents.

3. Using an image? Complete its meta data too.

If you are using an image to link to your pdf, make sure that you complete the meta data for that image, including the alt text. Not only is this an opportunity to provide search indexers with validation of the page's contents, if the image does not download, the alt text makes it visible to screen readers - a must for accessibility and mobile.

4. Make it printable, or lock it down.

If you're including a pdf on your website, chances are it’s important enough that users will want to print it out – so make sure it prints properly! 

On the flip side, if you don’t want users to be able to make prints, copy and paste, or otherwise use its content, lock it down (here’s a how-to). However don’t rely on locking your document, posts like this one provide some tips on how to hack it. 

5. Make sure that #1-4 conforms to your standards.

Do your website content authors have a standard for how documents are named, what their meta data should be, and how alt text should be handled? If not, create a 1 to 2 page content author guide to keep everyone on the same page, and keep your website sparkly - and search friendly - as it grows. (We can help you - get in touch with us to talk about this and other content services.) 


July 30th, 2015
Disclaimer: Our team members contribute to this blog in their own voices. As such, opinions expressed in this post are not necessarily shared by Upanup. If you are curious or concerned, please contact us.