The Importance of Metadata for PDF Files

Search Engine Optimization Tips for PDF filesPDF files have been around for a long time and Google has been indexing PDF files for almost as long.  Unfortunately, some basic best practices still go over looked to ensure proper indexing of PDF files.  Just do a Google Search for PDF files, and you will see a lot of search results with irrelevant titles.  These useless titles are used by Google because of two possible reasons:

  1. There is no metadata or irrelevant metadata for the PDF.
  2. The first text found by Google in the PDF is useless.  If the re is not metadata or the metadata is generic (eg. Microsoft Word…), then Google refers to the first text found in the PDF.

Those that usually create and publish PDF files don’t have a focus on search engine optimization.  In fact, I would suggest that most of us don’t pay much attention to SEO with PDF files.  The best option for ensuring your PDF is SEO ready is to include relevant metadata.  You can either modify the metadata in the Word document or change the metadata in the created PDF file.

Change Metadata in PDF Change Metadata in Word 2007
  1. Click the ‘File’ menu
  2. Select ‘Properties’
  1. Click the ‘Office Button’ in the top-left
  2. Select ‘Prepare’
  3. Select ‘Properties’

In both PDF and Word 2007, you can modify Author, Title, Subject, and Keywords metadata.  The critical ones for SEO would be Title and Keywords.  Although you wouldn’t want a PDF published that had someone else as the author, so it might be wise to modify the metadata as well.

This is just one tip to improve search rankings for PDF files.  There are many others ranging from PDF structure, wording, etc.  I may highlight other tips in the future.

Do you have SEO tips for PDF files?  Please share your tips.

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  • June Adriaan

     It’s my first time to hear the use of metadata for pdf files. Thanks for the tips I gained additional information from your post. seo sunshine coast