What are PDF Files, and Why Should You Optimize Them for SEO?
Portable document format files, also known as Adobe PDF files, are the most used file types today by online and offline users. For example, if you have filled up a printable form from the web, this form is most likely a PDF file. Likewise, files that you download from the internet with .pdf extensions are all PDF files.
Why are PDF Files Popular?
When you create a document such as a Microsoft Word newsletter, the default saves file setting will be with a .doc or .docx file extension. The problem with this file set is that people who do not have Microsoft Word installed on their computers will not open the file properly. Likewise, because .docx files are meant to be edited, there is a high possibility that accessing the file using other programs will change the formatting, and some of the texts in the documents will be shifted around or changed into other characters.
On the contrary, when you save your document with .pdf extensions, you can share this file type for viewing purposes only. People who open .pdf files cannot edit them unless they have software that can convert them into editable formats.
Saving documents into PDF files will preserve any formatting done with the document. Likewise, PDF files are more shareable on any device because they will look the same on any screen size.
It is therefore not surprising that PDF files are the standard file types for shareable documents and files. Here are some of the benefits of using PDF files:
- View on Different Screen Sizes. Reading .pdf files is similar to reading a paper book. PDF files will appear similar to the original documents, and because the formatting is preserved, all contents, including the texts, multimedia, drawings, video, graphs, and even business logic, will not be shifted around regardless of the application used to view the file or the screen size of your device.
- Portability. You can view PDF files on any platform, operating system, or device, making PDF the favorite file type for sharing information.
- Security. Another reason why PDF files are popular is that you can put passwords to restrict access to your PDF contents. For example, when you put an owner password on your PDF file, people without a password cannot copy, print, or edit your contents. In addition, you can set your contents as view only and share them with an assurance that they cannot copy them without your consent.
- Digital Signatures. PDF files have encryption protocols. In addition, content creators can add digital signatures and certificates to PDF files to assure that their contents were not altered since they were sent and to verify the sender.
What is PDF Optimization?
One main benefit of using PDF files is converting any file into PDFs with the right software. However, creating PDF files may result in a file size that is too large for sharing. There is, therefore, a need to optimize PDF files to make them smaller and more shareable.
Benefits of Optimizing PDF Files for Businesses
Having small file sizes is essential, especially when you plan to share these files online. Likewise, when you plan to put PDF files on your website, smaller-sized PDF files will increase your page’s loading speed. Here are some of the advantages of compressing and optimizing PDF files.
Faster Transmission of Files. Emails such as Gmail can only transmit 25MB of files per email. Smaller files are faster to send via emails. If you have large file sizes, you need to compress them using file compression software. Scanned documents that are saved as PDF files have much larger sizes than documents created using MS Word and other document creation software. Full-colored scanned pictures will also create a PDF file with large size.
Optimizing PDF files by compressing them into smaller sizes will allow employees to access email attachments and contents faster and respond more efficiently.
Faster Downloads. Files with larger megabytes will have more issues when it comes to downloading or accessing them. For example, while scanning a year’s worth of documents while creating smaller files than the original, these files may still be too large to manage. In addition, multiple-page documents such as contracts, loans, and mortgages may be hard to manage if the files are not optimized.
If you have many large files to download and access, you may waste hours waiting for them to download. When you optimize your PDF files, you are significantly lessening the amount of time waiting for them to download.
Better Collaboration. When you have fast transmission and download of files, your employees can have quick access to email attachments and transferred files. As a result, they can send their responses sooner. Large and bloated files will take longer to upload, send, download, and access. Production may get delayed because of employees waiting for large files to open. For efficiency purposes, it is best to work with optimized files when sending files across the internet.
Content Visibility and Shareability. When you use lossless PDF optimization software, you reduce the size of your PDF attachments without sacrificing their quality or content. Likewise, PDF optimization allows collaborators to share information easily.
When your company has remote employees, having compressed and optimized PDF files will make it easy to send documents and other content back and forth. Likewise, PDF optimization will allow employees to use smaller mobile screens to easily access the files and view them the same as other employees.
Benefits of PDF Optimization for SEO
PDF optimization will make it easier for people to share files on the internet. With the increased speeds of internet connections, it is not necessary to optimize a single-page PDF file. However, when you have a file with large contents such as videos or multiple-paged documents, accessing an unoptimized file may take significantly longer than necessary.
While most of the optimizing a PDF is to reduce and compress its size, PDF optimization may mean differently from an SEO’s point of view. The definition of SEO for PDF optimization is to make them easier for web crawlers to find and indexed for search engine ranking pages.
PDF optimization is, therefore, a necessary strategy for SEO practitioners. Since you can convert any file into PDF, using optimized PDF content has increased throughout the years.
Most people have a misconception that PDF files are merely for email attachments and should not be used as website content. In reality, Google has been indexing PDFs since 2011, and Google has reported that it has already indexed more than hundreds of millions of PDF contents.
There are many benefits of using optimized PDFs for websites. Here are some of them.
They are Easy to Create. PDFs are easy to create. Website owners who have limited resources or do not have a team of HTML programmers can create their content using Word, Publisher, or any software and save the files as PDF. Marketers can easily convert product data sheets, press releases, videos, and other content into optimized PDF files to add to their websites. PDF optimization is ideal for online marketers with little or no knowledge of HTML programming to publish content for their sites.
Already Contains Meta Data. When you create PDF files, you have the option of writing your meta description using the File Menu Options of Adobe Acrobat. Metadata is still a vital part of SEO marketing since the right meta descriptions will direct a searcher to your website. If you are good at writing meta descriptions for your content, it is ideal for you to create content using PDF and writing your descriptions than have search engines choose the description at random.
Adding Links to Your Content. You can add links to your content before publishing it to your website. Web crawlers will follow these links. You can add anchor texts to your content as well to target specific keyword searches. Using the right keywords or keyword phrases will enable you to narrow down your target audience.
Indexable Content. While search engines can index PDF files, not all files are indexable and have readable content. Therefore, to optimize your PDFs for SEO, it is best to create it first as a text file before saving it as a PDF file. It is also best to use word processing software such as Word or Illustrator to create content before converting it into files with .pdf extensions.
Reduced File Sizes. PDF file sizes are usually smaller than their origins, making them take up little space on your website. Likewise, the smaller file sizes of optimized PDF contents allow your webpage to load faster. This fast-loading speed will prevent visitors from leaving your website.
Same Formatting. If your website allows visitors to download and print content such as manuals, books, or publications, it is best to use optimized PDF files to maintain their original formatting. Contents that are made using HTML will not print as it displays on your screens.
Securing Documents. Likewise, when your website allows visitors to download content but do not want users to duplicate them, you can add password protection to your content, preventing downloaders from editing, printing, or duplicating your content.
PDFs are highly shareable, which people can access and open using different platforms. However, there is a need to optimize PDFs to make their sizes smaller to enable people to send and open them faster. There are many benefits of optimizing PDF files for businesses and employees.
Likewise, PDF optimization is also important for marketers and SEO practitioners. Optimized pdf files may contain self-written meta descriptions, which help web crawlers index your website. Optimized PDF files will also allow users to download content from websites without altering the content formatting.