Are videos and images part of your natural referencing strategy?
The same can be done for your PDF documents. What are the criteria for optimising their indexing by search engines, and Google in particular?
Methods for making PDFs accessible to search engines
When it comes to SEO, making PDF files accessible to search engines is essential to ensure their visibility and ranking in search results. PDFs are often used to distribute important information, such as reports, manuals or brochures. Here are a few ways to optimise your PDFs and make them accessible to search engines.
- Convert your documents into indexable text: Search engines have difficulty analysing the content of PDF files containing only images or scans. To make indexing easier, convert your documents into indexable text. Use optical character recognition (OCR) tools to extract text from images and create a text version of the document. This will enable search engines to understand the content of the PDF and index it correctly.
- Optimise PDF content for keywords: As with web pages, keyword optimisation is important to make your PDF more visible in search results. Research relevant keywords and integrate them naturally into the content of the PDF, including titles, subtitles, paragraphs and ALT tags for images. This will help search engines understand what the document is about and display it to users interested in these keywords.
- Use structured tags: Structured tags, such as , <h1>, <h2>, etc., help search engines understand the structure of the document and extract relevant information. Make sure you use these tags correctly and consistently in your PDF.</p>
- Optimise PDF metadata: Metadata plays an important role in making PDFs accessible to search engines. Fill in the title, description and keyword fields of the PDF with precise and relevant information. This will enable search engines to understand the content of the PDF and display it correctly in search results.
Why is PDF indexing important?
To make it easier to index your PDF files, it is important to optimise them for search engines by using appropriate meta tags, relevant descriptions and titles, and appropriate keywords. But what can PDF indexing do for a website?
- Indexing PDF files can improve your website’s SEO by making it easier for search engines to crawl the content of these files. This means that the content of your PDF files, such as reports, presentations or technical documents, can be discovered by a wider audience and therefore help to improve the visibility of your website.
- Indexing PDF files can also improve the user experience by facilitating access to relevant content. Visitors to your site may be looking for specific information in your PDF files, and indexing these files can make it easier for them to find what they’re looking for.
In short, indexing PDF files can help improve your website’s visibility and user experience, so it’s important to take this aspect into account in your SEO strategy.
Optimise the content of your PDF
To optimise your PDF, you first need to ensure that the content is of high quality and relevant to your target audience. Make sure the content is well structured, using relevant headings and sub-headings to make it easy to read and understand.
Next, you can optimise the content by using keywords that are relevant to your business or industry. Keywords should be used naturally in the text so as not to appear artificial or spammy. Don’t forget to include keywords in the title of your PDF to improve SEO.
PDF SEO: criteria linked to the content of your documents
Referencing PDF documents is often overlooked. However, they can generate targeted and significant traffic, as long as your files meet a certain number of criteria. In the second half of 2018, Google announced its intention to optimise the indexing of PDF documents by converting them to HTML.
L’objectif pour le leader du Search est de permettre à de tels fichiers d’être plus visibles dans les résultats dès lors que ceux-ci sont pertinents par rapport à la requête de l’internaute. Cela implique donc une construction soignée de chacun des fichiers PDF incluant :
- Content that is not just in the form of images, as is all too often the case. The content of each PDF should be made up of illustrations and editorial content;
- The texts that make up your medium must be of high quality and unique. To avoid duplicate content, you should therefore avoid copying and pasting editorial content that already exists on the web or on one of your own pages;
- Optimising the images used in the document. As with a web page, each image must have an explicit name, an alternative text (ALT tag) and, if possible, a caption;
- An Hn structure to mark out the content, both to make it easier for web users to read and to make it easier for search engines to understand.
Other criteria for optimising the indexing of your PDFs
While the quality and organisation of the content are essential, they are not the only criteria that can influence the indexing of your PDFs:
- Choose an optimised name for your keyword file: for example, a document dealing with the natural referencing of PDFs could be named PDF-SEO.PDF rather than file12-2020.PDF ;
- Fill in the properties: you can fill in a number of details about your PDF, including the author and a brief description of the subject. As always in SEO, this is an opportunity to place key expressions that are likely to attract traffic, while avoiding over-optimisation;
- Reduce the weight of your document: this is one of the most important criteria at a time when Google is prioritising the user experience, particularly on mobile devices. We recommend using a compression tool to optimise its size and make it easier for all web users to download;
- Think linking: as with the natural referencing of any web page, link building helps to push a PDF into the top Google results. While respecting the search leader’s guidelines in this area, your digital strategy must enable all your media, including PDFs, to benefit from both internal and external links to boost their visibility in the SERPs.
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