Make Your PDF Documents Visible To Search Engines

Your PDF file that you want to become viral may not always be found.  In this article we will tell you how to make your PDF findable and spider-friendly.

Just about every web page that exists can be found if you do a proper search.  You may find one of your pages in the 965,736,836th page in a Google search, but it is definitely there unless you instructed the search engines to ignore it.  Since not all search engines (spiders) pay attention to your requests, so you may still may find your web page among those indexed.

This is not so with many PDF files.  It is as though some people do not want their files found.  We know they do want a high visibility, but they are being their own worst enemy.  To start, forget all that SEO stuff for the moment and look at your document.

Really look at it closely.  Try highlighting the text and see if you can isolate just the text – not draw a box around it, but select the text itself.  If you cannot do this you have probably created the PDF document in a graphic form and not text.

Some people intentionally do this because they do not want the text copied easily.  Just load up a PDF OCR program and you will have the original text in hand, so this argument is invalid or based on misleading information.

Remember, you want your PDF to be found by the search engine spiders.  Those spiders crawl all over your web pages and even inspect the PDF contents.  If they do not see text they ignore the PDF file.  Your PDF has just been discarded by the spider and may never get looked at again as spiders have L-O-N-G memories.

Create your PDF with a text-based tool.  Yes, you could even create it with notepad, but you should use a program where you can use different fonts and formatting with the embedding of pictures and graphics.

Microsoft Word is great for this as is Apache Open Office.  Apache Office is free.  Both products allow you to save to or print to PFD files.  Open up your PDF and make sure the program does not save it in a graphics format and you will now be able to make your PDF spider (search engine) friendly.

If you replace existing graphics-generated PDF files, make sure to give them a friendly name such as make-your-pdf-documents-visible-to-search-engines.PDF as the spiders read and index filenames too.  Make sure the filename is different from your old PDF name, as you do not want a spider to think it is the old file with a newer date; give it some fresh meat.

Now that your PDF can actually be found, you can pay attention to the SEO stuff.

Spider picture via Flickr by tkksummers.

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