The Ultimate Guide - PDF for SEO

Sep 20

In this blog, we have talked a lot about search engine optimization (otherwise known as SEO). We have covered other areas of SEO – like the business guide to local SEO versus organic SEO. Today, however, we will be discussing PDF submission for SEO. When it comes to the topic of SEO PDF, it is important to know about the most essential parts of PDFs, how PDF SEO impacts your site globally, how Google SEO PDF works, and how you can make your PDF rank better.

First, however, we need to dive into a question that is pretty central to SEO for PDF.

Does Google Like PDFs?

It is difficult to say whether or not Google actually loves PDFs. While it can be said that Google does not mind PDFs, the jury is still out on some aspects of this. Internally, people from Google will be quick to claim that Google treats PDFs like any plain old HTML document.

However, if history is any indicator, Google will spend a lot of time just telling you what you would want to hear. Or, rather, telling you things Google wants to be true. When it comes to PDF SEO, there is some research that says that PDFs do not transmit a Page Rank, or, if they do transmit it, they do not do it in its entirety. In fact, it can be tricky to tell whether or not this is still the case.

While a PDF may not convey or contain “link juice,” it is a fact that a PDF page has as good of a chance as ranking well compared to any other HTML page. However, despite this, little attention is paid to optimizing PDF submission for SEO. More often than not, PDFs are put on the web in the form in which they were designed and that is usually all there is to it. This brings us to our next question.

How Do You Optimize a PDF file?

The standard on-page and off-page SEO rules that are used for HTML can also be applied to PDFs. Elements of the page, rich and optimized text, and descriptive meta description can be used to optimize your file. But, if you will add an option for readers to download the PDF from your site, you might want to also compress the file so they can easily download it.

File Name

The first step in optimizing a PDF file is to create a filename that is SEO friendly. Additionally, your url will be dependent on the filename, so, it is often best to have a name that will include the keywords – separated by hyphens, of course.


In the options for the properties of your PDF, it is possible to create a “title” of your PDF document. Google will display this title in its results. For this reason, the title is a very important element of SEO for PDF, and it is best for the title to contain keywords – especially if these keywords are at the beginning. The title is also important because it will ultimately determine whether or not people are going to click on the result.

If the title of your PDF file is not set, Google will use the head title (H1) that you use in the content of your PDF. However, if this does not exist – something that happens from time to time – Google will probably opt to use your filename.


Similar to a title, your description is something that you can write and create as a meta description within your PDF file. However, when it comes to PDF submission for SEO, the description does not play an important role in your ranking – though it can affect a higher or lower CTR (your click through rate). Additionally, the description can be important because it can get potential visitors to click on your site.

Optimize Content

Much like other pages on the web, the same rules apply to content:

  • Use one main title – It is very important that you have a title that is optimized for your main keyword.
  • Divide your text into paragraphs that use subheadings. Subtitles should be used to target your long-tail phrases and keywords.
  • Optimize your text itself using words you would like to rank with
  • Text is important, but images should be used as well
  • Do not make the mistake of placing a PDF where the text is in the image format. Your text should be “plain text” that can be read by Google bots

Increase Your Loading Speed

You can increase the page load speed of your PDF page if you reduce the file size. You can reduce your file size by removing unnecessary metadata, and by compressing images before inserting them into PDFs.


Hopefully, by keeping these tips in mind, you can better optimize your PDF SEO, leading to increased traffic on your website and a growing number of customers.

If you are an entrepreneur or small business owner looking to better implement technology in the development of your business plan, consider reaching out to KitelyTech today to learn more. At KitelyTech, we have spent years working with small business owners from all walks of life to make their business goals into a reality.

Also, please continue to check out our blog to learn more about a wide variety of topics. Consider, for example, our recent article on top concepts for cool websites.

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