The visibility of a site goes above all through indexing. Indeed, to be able to be ranked in search results, all the web pages you create must be visible to the algorithms.
To do this, you can of course apply the different rules of natural referencing, or SEO.
But it is also essential to adapt to the nature of the file you want to index. For example, the indexing of a PDF file will not be the same as that of a simple HTML page.
But how and why to index your PDF files on Google?
Why optimize a PDF file?
You've probably seen a PDF file in the SERPs before. You ask a question, and the answer is given to you in the form of a PDF file, which you have to download.
In reality, this is nothing new: since 2001, Google has taken care to analyze PDF files to make them a place in search results. Thus, the PDF analysis service can control and index many files, even if they use different languages and encodings. And provided that they are not encrypted by a password.
Factually, indexing your PDF files may not seem like a priority. But like many SEO techniques to boost your internet visibility: it's worth the detour.
Optimizing a PDF file allows you to put all the chances on your side to be better placed. Because even if it has to be downloaded, the PDF file holds the same importance in the SERPs as the HTML pages.
Whether you are writing an ebook, a white paper or a very long article, be sure to apply these few tips to ensure the proper indexing of your PDF file.
How to optimize your PDF indexing?
Just like the visibility of your HTML pages, there are tricks for the search engine to properly index your PDF file. In accordance with our SEO tips to start SEO, discover these tips to make Google take into account all your files!
1 – Save it as text
The very first thing you can do to ensure that your PDF file is properly indexed on Google is to save it as text. Indeed, PDFs are a bit special, since they need to be downloaded to be read.
Even if some of their characteristics are identical to HTML pages, Google does not always have the same way of apprehending the indexing of PDF files. Starting with images: it is important to note that those present in a PDF are not automatically saved in Google Images.
Also, if you save your PDF text as an image, there's a good chance that the image is not indexed. The reason is simple: Google can use OCR algorithms to extract text if it is saved as an image, but this technique is not constant. Be sure to save it as text!
2 – Study the usefulness of a PDF
Even more primaryly, you need to make sure that a PDF is the best format for the content you're writing. Indeed, if you read our articles, you now know that Google is looking for one thing: improving the user experience.
However, opening a PDF from Google results requires downloading it. A procedure that may not please all Internet users. It is therefore important that you make sure that the PDF format serves your purpose, whether it is to provide a particularly long article, or an ebook that your users can keep.
In addition, Google sometimes faces a real headache: how to evaluate HTML pages compared to PDFs? One is simpler to open, but the other brings more information.
To identify which file deserves to be highlighted compared to another, Google algorithms evaluate the one that brings the most satisfaction to Internet users. Ask yourself: does PDF really add value to your written content?
3 – Choose optimized titles
Now that you've defined the need to create a PDF, don't overlook the importance of titles! If Hn tags are not necessarily taken into account by Google algorithms, this is still the case for the Title tag.
So be sure to plan titles worked and optimized according to the rules of SEO. Not only does this help you boost your SEO, but it also increases the chances that people will come across your PDF file if they type the right query in the search bar.
4 – Plan a mesh strategy including your PDF
And because a PDF file is always more effective when it is accompanied, remember to plan a link strategy, including your PDF.
You can thus provide links on your site, which bring the user directly to your PDF file. But you can also anticipate external links, starting from your PDF file and leading to other articles on the internet.
Whether it's an internal link to your site, or netlinking linking to external articles, creating a whole link strategy allows you to transfer traffic. The same transfer that is done between two HTML pages: again, Google's way of analyzing is the same on both types of files.
5 – Be careful not to offer the same content in HTML and PDF
We can never repeat it enough: even if the formats are not the same, Google tends to analyze PDF and HTML files in the same way. This means that if you create an HTML article and a WHITE PAPER in PDF with the same content, you risk duplicate content.
Since both files are taken into account by Google algorithms, they will notify duplicate content, and one of your files will be demoted from its positioning on search results.
If you don't want your PDF file to be indexed in order to leave all the traffic on an HTML file with the same content, this is quite possible. Just enter a noindex command in the HTML header of your PDF file, and it will not be taken into account by the algorithms.
6 – Compress the PDF file
On HTML pages, you have to worry about the loading speed. On PDF files, it is the download time that must be taken into account. Again, every obstacle that may deter people about the quality of your content can be dangerous for your positioning.
So be sure to minimize the loading time of your PDF, compressing it before publishing it. Also optimize the size of your images, to avoid unnecessary overload!
7 – Optimize images
And finally, the images in your PDF are as important as the text. Whether it's to ventilate your PDF file or for pure and hard optimization, beyond reducing the size of your images, also take the time to fill in an alt tag.
You can then add a title and several keywords to them, in case the images refuse to be displayed. Not to mention that it adds text, which the Google PDF service will be able to take into account to gauge the quality of your editorial content.
Indexing your PDF files
On the internet, all formats are analyzed to establish a quality ranking. It also involves PDF files, which we do not always think about optimizing to satisfy search engines.
Factually, if you want to vary the pleasures and boost the visibility of your website, nothing like a PDF file with a high added value, included in a netlinking strategy and carried out according to the requirements of the algorithms.
By following these 7 concrete tips, you maximize the chances of your PDF being visible to Google, and therefore to Internet users. Effective and simple solutions to implement!