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SEO for PDFs 2008: Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines

Acrobat Reader Files (PDF) do get indexed by search engines and they can do well in the search engine results.

I’ve updated an article about Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines for 2008. You can download the article as a PDF (Yes, it’s a PDF about PDF’s).

It includes step by step instructions with screenshots.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Tips to better rankings for your PDF’s
  • How to get more people to click-through from search engine result listings to your PDF’s.
  • How to include active links within PDF’s to increase the number of readers who visit your web site or contact you while viewing your PDF online.
  • Adding active links within a PDF also give search engines paths to find content on your web site and may improve search rankings.

These tips should help improve results for the PDF’s you host on your own web sites as well as those you distribute to others who may post them on their sites such as datasheets, manuals, whitepapers, articles etc

Download Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines for 2008


I’ll be presenting “Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines” at Pubcon in Las Vegas next week, December 10 – 14, 2008. If you’ll be there stop by,

Session: Alternative Discovery and SEO – Feeds, PDF’s, and Blog SEO
Date: Wednesday December 12
Time: 1:30pm
Location: Salon B

Note – The schedule can change so check it online at www.pubcon.com/sessions.htm or check the schedule boards at Pubcon.

Download Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines for 2008


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Comments on “SEO for PDFs 2008: Optimizing PDFs for Search Engines”

  1. Justin Seibert Says:

    George – great primer! A lot of good tips in there and love that you’re doing it within an actual pdf document. Thanks.

  2. Todd Says:

    important topic. helpful advice for SEO’s

  3. Benj Arriola Says:

    Check this out also… how Google mentions “Cited By:” in the SERP description snippet. Increasing screen real estate in the SERPs.


  4. Matt Says:

    Hi George, I have thoroughly enjoyed your original doc on PDF optimizations. I am wondering if you or anyone else has determined whether links within PDF’s pass linkjuice. Thanks!

  5. George Aspland Says:

    Unfortunately I can’t be sure if PDF’s pass link juice.

    Funny story, but the PDF I posted about optimizing PDF’s, which had a couple of tests in it to see if link juice would be passed to a couple of charity sites was indexed in Google before I presented it at Pubcon in 2007. However it wasn’t indexed for long after!!

    I’ll be looking for evidence of PDF’s passing link juice. We’ll need to start seeing PDF’s in our indicators of important incoming links, but that won’t happened until more people embed links in PDF’s on a regular basis. (If anyone sees what they think is evidence of this let us know)

    So look at embedding links in PDF”s primarily as a way to get people and search engines to follow links to your site from online PDF’s

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