How to Increase SEO Compatibility of PDFs on Your Website

We discussed in a previous blog post how PDFs can be a valuable way to share information and content on your website. When prepared correctly, Google and other search engines are fully capable of crawling and indexing PDF. In fact, these files regularly appear in search results when they match a user’s query. 

If you have one or more PDFs on your website, there are certain techniques you can use to make them more likely to appear in search results while boosting your site’s overall SEO. 

SEO Facors that Impact PDFs 

A PDF can contain a range of content, including text, images, and graphics. Since many companies already have guides, instruction booklets, ebooks, and newsletters created for their business outreach, it is often simple to link to these PDFs and share that same content with your website visitors.

The first consideration for SEO when linking PDFs is to be sure that the information is better presented in a PDF rather than directly on a web page since a PDF will require an additional click and potentially a download from the customer.

If you have determined that a PDF is the right file format for your content, here are some ways to help it boost your SEO:

  • Manage the File Size – With images and colors, PDFs can quickly become large files with long loading times. This negatively impacts your technical SEO. When you save your file, a process which will depend on the program you are using, choose save options that compress it for web. You can additionally compress PDF files with various online programs to reduce the file size.
  • Create Text-Based PDFs – A PDF is crawlable by a search engine if you can highlight, copy, and paste the content the same as you would copy on a web page. If you are unable to do so, the PDF contains images and cannot be indexed. In these cases, use alt tags to describe images and consider embedding the PDF in a page that explains its purpose and uses relevant SEO keywords.
  • Use Standard SEO Formatting – Since search engines are crawling your PDF documents the same way as text on your website. Incorporate heading tags, use keywords where relevant, and break up paragraphs into smaller sections to improve readability. Additionally, avoid grammar and spelling mistakes that could hurt your quality. 
  • Optimize for Mobile – Since many visitors will view your PDF on their phones, format the document accordingly. Sections help phone users navigate, and bullet points make it easier to read. You should also align your text left so users can scroll horizontally first and then vertically.
  • Consider Your File Name-  Use a professional name for your file. If you entitle your documents “messupcopy5, ”that name will appear as the tab title whenever anyone opens your PDF. 

Pay attention to the number of downloads and visits to PDFs you host on your website. In the same way that monitoring your blog posts and various web pages for traffic can give you interesting insights into what your web visitors and customers are interested in, s can these statistics. If you have a PDF getting significant hits, consider adding similar content as a blog post, web page, or other multimedia that delivers similar resources. 

In the end, when it comes to SEO for PDFs or any content on a website, it is all about having high quality and informative copy. One of the best ways to get that content is to partner with Great Leap Studios where our experienced and affordable content marketing can create all the content your business needs to stand out online. Send us a message through the contact form to learn more about our services. 


  • Micah Abraham

    Micah Abraham is the owner and lead content writer at Great Leap Studios ( and High Volt Digital (
    Micah has over 15 years of content writing and digital marketing experience, and has owned and operated Great Leap Studios since 2013 and High Volt since 2022.
    He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and has researched and written content on a wide range of topics in the medical and health fields, home services, tech, and beyond.
    Micah lives with his family in California.

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