SEO Advice – Why Google Indexes PDF Files as Images

In this article we’ll review two PDF file scenarios and how search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN index them. If you’re reading this, then you’re most likely concerned about SEO and how your site ranks. Before you reach out to a search engine optimization agency read about a few basic SEO tips to help your site rank better.

Scenario 1: PDF Files and Search Engines:

Put yourself in this situation. You’re a professional with a great idea for your company’s website. You want to reach out to your customer base by posting a PDF on your website. You picked a PDF format because you have control over how the document looks and you enjoy the piece of mind knowing the document is difficult to edit. Before you post the PDF, consider these three search engine optimization questions.

1. Can you highlight the text?

For SEO purposes there are two types of PDF files: files that the text can be highlighted and files that the text cannot be highlighted. If you cannot highlight the text on your PDF, you’re abandoning potentially valuable SEO content because search engines see your PDF as an image file and not a searchable documen Sommerseo┬át (please see scenario 2).

If you can highlight the text within the PDF, then you’re on your way to potential SEO content gold. Now it is time to further optimize the PDF for a user of a search engine query.

2. What is the name of the PDF?

Search engines pay attention to your PDF title. Before posting the PDF to your website consider renaming the PDF to an SEO-friendly title. Unlike files on your computer, the Internet cannot have gaps in URL text, therefore consider using hyphens (-)’s, or underscores (_)’s to convey the title of your document. For example if the title of your document on your computer is “Atlanta SEO Agency.pdf,” consider naming the file “Atlanta-seo-agency.pdf” prior to uploading the content to your website. (Note: the title of a PDF replaces a title tag on a traditional website page).

The result is the PDF posted to your website it will read “yourdomain.com/atlanta-seo-agency.pdf.” This allows you to gain further value once this PDF has been indexed by a search engine. The first readable line of text within the PDF will display at the title of a search engine query result. Let’s continue how the search engines post PDF results in a search engine query.