Simple Steps to Optimize Your PDF Web Content for Search

Optimize PDFs for searchWith the growing success of content marketing and Inbound Marketing as a way to attract your most ideal prospects online, the amount of content being created and published to the Web on a daily basis is staggering. This content takes many forms including the most widely format for downloading, the universal Portable Document Format (PDF). By now marketers know the importance of optimizing website content with specific keyword phrases in order to be found in search, but do you know the steps to properly optimize your PDF content?

Sure, there’s reasons not to optimize your lead conversion PDF content that you have gated behind conversion forms. This would create a loop hole for users to find and access your content without obtaining their information first. But for general brochures, fact sheets and other PDF documentation that you wish to provide openly on your site it’s important to take the steps to optimize these documents so they’re easily found by those you want to consume it.

Here’s some simple and fool proof steps to start optimizing your PDF content before you upload these documents to your website.


Always make your PDF file names descriptive for the end user so it’s not easily lost among their other folder files, but also optimize your files names with a relevant keyword phrase. For example, “Industrial-Engineering-Capabilities-Overview.pdf”. This is a simple step that can make a big impact.


Once your PDF is created open it in Acrobat so you can access the document properties, which you can find under File >> Document Properties.

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PDF Document Properties for SEO

From here you can complete the various fields which act like meta data properties on a web page:

  • Title – treat this like you would a web page title tag, keeping it to 70 characters or less with one primary keyword phrase, since this is what will appear as the title in search results
  • Author – enter your company name here, unless you’re your own brand then enter your name
  • Subject – this field acts as the meta description or the block of copy that appears below the title in search results. Keep this to 150 characters or less with 1-2 keyword phrases, and making sure you’re writing for the user to entice click thru from the search engine results page (SERP)
  • Keywords – stick to 3-5 keyword phrases, separating each by a comma


Take your newly optimized PDF and add it as a document link on any relevant pages on your site, preferably on pages that receive a higher volume of traffic so it’s found and indexed more easily.

If you’re looking to further educate yourself on the steps to fully leverage your PDFs and other web content for Inbound Marketing, to help feed your sales funnel with more qualified leads, check out our introduction to Inbound Marketing: Turn Your Website Into A Sales Magnet.


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