Define relevant keywords
Keywords are crucial for search engine optimization. Without a doubt, this also applies to PDF files. In particular, relevant keywords should be included in the document title, headings, and throughout the text.
Keywords can be defined using keyword research tools. Find out more in our article: The most important keyword tools in the test which tools are best suited for this.
Choose meaningful headlines
Taking into account your researched keywords, formulate appropriate headlines. The main keyword should be at the beginning.
Important: The headline should not exceed 70 characters, because everything beyond that will be cut out by Google in the search results. Use subheadings as well. These structure the text and help the web crawlers to interpret the text correctly.
Consider text properties
Yes, content is king! In order to rank well on Google, text-based content is a prerequisite. As a general rule, PDF files should not be encrypted or password protected. This way, content can be copied and pasted into a standard text document, but above all, search engines are able to read and index text effortlessly.
Place images only in moderation
Well-chosen images should not be missing in any PDF file. However, the number of images is crucial. Search engines cannot read image files. Therefore, they should really only be used in appropriate places and not unnecessarily increase the memory requirements of the PDF.
Use keywords in the file name
The file name should also contain the relevant keywords. This is especially important because the file name will be displayed in search results and the browser bar. Use only numbers and letters. Avoid spaces and special characters.
Insert external links
Use external links to provide your readers with further information. For example, links to e-mail addresses or websites are suitable for this. The only disadvantage is that links in PDF files cannot be provided with the “nofollow attribute”.
Fill in document properties (meta information)
The be-all and end-all of a PDF file are filling in the document properties. These correspond to the meta-information of a web page.
Title: Give your file a precise title. The use of relevant keywords is also required here. The goal is that the title is displayed in the first line of the snippet. That is why it is important to limit the title to 57 characters.
Author: Specify the author of the PDF to enable attribution of the source.
Subject: Briefly summarize the content of your PDF. However, this only has a limited effect on the snippet. This is because Google rather pulls the text for the snippet from the first page of the file.
Keywords: Even if the keywords have little importance, it certainly does not hurt to specify relevant keywords here.
PDFs can positively influence your ranking. However, if meta information, keywords, etc. are missing, the effect is missing and your PDF disappears into the depths of the World Wide Web.