How to position a PDF? A short guide book

working with notes and computer

Is it possible to position a PDF and if so, then does it make sense?

It does! Google robots (Googlebot) consider the text inside a PDF, as similar to the text that is on the website or in a written code. Everything that we can include in a document will be read by Googlebot. That is why it is important to think about optimizing your file.

However, while creating the document, we have to remember that it has to have a text file format. If we create the document as a graphic file, Googlebot will not be able to read it. Whole content will lose its value and become worthless. 

What content should we include in a PDF file?

Not every content is suitable for PDF. Apart from different kinds of books that we can find on the Internet (often with no copyright or license), it is worth to create PDFs with business offers, manual guides, price lists or analysis. If you think that your content can be included in PDF file then do it. Currently, this practice is in the niche and we should explore its potential. 

What should we remember about while positioning a PDF file? 

Positioning a PDF is not difficult if we remember a few important practices. Everyone who is familiar with positioning knows what to do. If it is your first time and you have never tried it before you will be able to do it on your own. Just follow these few simple rules. 

Most of all – the title

You probably know that the meta title is very important. In the case of a PDF file, we have to remember about the title. This is the first thing that the user sees in Google search. The title should include exactly what is inside the file and match search criteria.

The keyword should be placed at the beginning. Thanks to this, a user, as well as the Googlebot, will have an idea of what the document is about. We can not forget about the maximum number of 50-60 characters. That way we can be sure, that the title will appear as a whole. We can also add an author or keywords. 

If our PDF creator allows us to add more information, such as the description or some keywords, it will be better to do it. 

The title vs the name of the file

Apart from giving our PDF a title, we can not forget about the name of the file. The elements should be connected with a dash. It is also better to use some keywords in the file’s name. Some people suggest starting each word of the name with the big letter. 

Keyword saturation

Very similar to positioning website, we can not forget about proper keyword saturation. Our PDF file should be written clearly and contain all the necessary information. We can not forget about using keywords. The time when we used to put them everywhere has already past. Now it is more important to be natural and user-friendly. Remember this golden rule: write for the user and optimize for the robot.

Link building

It is one of the most important aspects of good content and optimization. Creating a PDF file, remember to link it to websites in your domain and the other way around – put a link to your file in proper places on your websites. Thanks to this, Google robots will know that the file is a part of your website’s network of connections. Google will receive a clear message that this element is important.

Size of the file and ALT

While creating a PDF file we can not forget about it’s “weight”. If the file is too heavy, it will slow down your website and you can loose more rather than gain. Not only the robots will judge this situation as bad but also the users may leave your website bored and frustrated because of the long loading speed. It is good to remember that loading speed is one of the most important factors. All of us are in a constant rush and even one second of our personal time seems really valuable. That is why it is good to optimize our domain and PDF file.

If you include photos in a file, remember to use the ALT attribute. It allows robots to read those pictures like any other standard website. Without it, your pictures will stay worthless.

Proper URL address helps to optimize PDF

Every URL address should be properly optimized. The one from your PDF file as well as from every other subpage. Even though this factor does not influence the ranking, it is much better if the URL is short and contains the name of the subpage. Long URLs, full of random letters look sloppy. If we locate a keyword in the URL, it will bring users’ attention to itself.

Do not bore the user

Good content should drain the subject but not the user. Write to describe the subject in 100% but remember that the form should be appealing. Different styling, pictures, graphics, videos, contents page, and short paragraphs – all of this will make your file even more appealing. Go through your favorite websites and blogs- you will probably notice that long blocks of text are boring and unattractive. Most of us pay attention to the beginning and the end of the text just scanning through all the lines. That is why bolding, linking, underlying/highlighting is very necessary. They attract attention and at the same time, they keep the user’s attention.

Also, remember about proper segmentation- use titles, subtitles, and headings. Use keywords whenever possible.

Avoid duplicated text

When the same content is published on more than one page, no matter if it is in the same domain or different, Google considers it as text duplication. More often a content that was published first is in advantage. However, it is best to think about it before we publish the duplicated text in our domain.

In a situation like that, all you need is a proper use of the meta tag “rel=canonical”. Using that we can emphasize which version we prefer. The second option is to add a “rel=nofollow” tag. That way we can avoid any future problems.

Take care of your file’s safety

Most of the PDF creators has a safety function. Make good use of it and set your file to not allow edition. You can avoid a situation in which someone will make changes in your property.

Optimize a PDF for mobile devices

Nowadays people use mostly mobile phones or smartphones. We have to remember that and try to optimize best for mobile devices. If our file will not be mobile user-friendly we can lose a lot.


As you can see optimizing a PDF file is possible and profitable. Because this topic is currently in the niche we could gain a lot focusing on it. Make a user-friendly document with properly placed keywords. Afterward, take care of every aspect of SEO such as meta titles, descriptions, links and proper use of meta tags.

Author: Wojciech Kmita

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