There are many uses for a portable document format (PDF) file. Some common examples include whitepapers, eBooks, case studies and reports. Besides enabling you to create aesthetically pleasing content, they have a fairly small file size for quick loading. This makes them a popular document choice for lawyers when developing longer marketing content.
There’s just one issue. How do you do PDF SEO?
Here are the fundamentals of SEO for PDF files so you can fully optimize your content and rank it higher in the SERPs.
Start With an Optimized File Name
PDF SEO is similar to infographic SEO because it’s largely contingent upon getting your file name right. Google can’t decipher these two content mediums in a conventional way like it would an HTML document. Therefore, you need to help Google quickly understand what your content is about.
This begins by performing some keyword analysis to identify the optimal phrase to insert in your file name. Although it’s tempting save your PDF file under the name that it automatically suggests, this is likely to diminish its overall impact. It’s also best to keep the file name simple and straightforward with a max of five words and/or 60 characters if possible.
Link to Internal Content from Your PDF
Be sure that you link to relevant content on your law firm’s website. This accomplishes three very important things:
- It increases the odds that Google will view your PDF as content that’s integral to your site, thereby improving its SEO potential
- It points readers to other content and gets them to explore your site further, which can increase conversions
- It improves your overall link profile
Link to Your PDF
There’s another element of link building involved with this process. You want to also link to your PDF from relevant content on your site. The easiest way to do this is by targeting a handful of blog posts that discuss similar points as your PDF file. Then you’ll want to strategically create links to your PDF.
Also be sure to optimize your anchor text for maximum impact. You can learn all about this here.
Add an Intro Page
There’s another similarity between PDF SEO and infographic SEO. You can help search engines better understand your content by including a brief introduction. This allows you to throw in an optimized title, H1 tag and a few paragraphs of text (typically 200 – 300 words will work). Adding an intro page won’t affect the original content on your PDF file but will give you a nice lift from an SEO standpoint.
Remember Alt Text
It’s common for PDFs to contain plenty of images. This is yet another opportunity for optimization. Just make sure you’re adding alt text for all of your images.
If PDFs factor into your law firm’s content strategy, you’ll definitely want to follow SEO best practices. Although you’re a bit more limited than you would be with an HTML document, there are several steps you can take to increase search engine visibility and pull in more organic search traffic.
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