• Ben Heligman

    Thanks for addressing this Janet. To be honest I thought the content of all PDFs were unable to be read by search engines. How do you know if my .pdf is readable or not?

  • Tim Ruof

    I would suggest using Word or InDesign instead of Illustrator. AI really shouldn’t be used for text based PDF creation in my opinion.

  • Tim Ruof

    I would suggest using Word or InDesign instead of Illustrator. AI really shouldn’t be used for text based PDF creation in my opinion.

  • http://frontandsocial.com/ swinterroth

    I think the biggest con to using PDF in any type of web application is the fact that some browsers (Mainly Google Chrome) don’t always handle the PDF and “crash”. At least, this is my experience.

  • http://www.WPBlogTips.com/ Shahzad Saeed

    OK Janet,
    I do have a question. What if I create a web copy and also provide a pdf ebook with exact content of the web copy so that if someone wanted to read offline they could easily download the pdf? Will it be counted as duplicate content as Google can read both the web and pdf?

  • janetdriscollmiller

    Ben,

    I’ve really never had a PDF that wasn’t indexable. Ideally, if you save your document as a PDF from a program like Microsoft Word, it preserves the text format, making that text readable by search engines. However, if you scan a document as a PDF and are not using OCR, it could be that the text in the PDF is like an image, and therefore the text would not be readable by search engine bots.

  • janetdriscollmiller

    Completely agree. I’ve had a terrible time with Chrome and PDFs… especially printing them from Chrome.

  • RightTech

    I think Google will do OCR on image-only PDFs and index the resulting text. Of course, OCR is not 100% accurate and thus it is always better to start with an e-doc and convert direct to PDF.

  • RightTech

    Firefox (at least on XP) is much, much worse on PDFs than Chrome. It crashes all the time, while I’ve never had a crash in Chrome.

    Also, Chrome and Adobe Reader plug-in (for IE or Firefox) will take text that is a URL and make it click-able. Firefox and Safari do not make this text click-able, so you need a PDF creation process that turns these into actual links.

  • http://www.indiabizsource.com/ Anoop Srivastava

    Janet, When we target the long tail keywords in pdf and share it, it start ranking without promoting. I have checked it by uploading in slideshare and it help to get the traffic as well as leads also. Thanks for your post.

  • http://www.tiptechnews.com/ Rameez Ramzan Ali

    Hello Janet Driscoll Miller,

    Suppose, I make corporate PDF and upload on different slide share sites so Is this good or bad approach?

  • http://leavetown.com/ LeaveTown.com Vacations

    Hi, if I have a blog article that I want to spin into a downloadable pdf that resides in the root directory, this would be duplicate content, yes? So should I use a noindex or canonical URLs for the pdf? Great article. Thanks!

  • Rajesh_magar

    That’s cool! and as of my self is very big fan of PDF documents, because they are so portable, always available in place whether you online or offline.

    But can you suggest some great tools which are more proficient to create graphic reach PDF documents?

  • Rajesh_magar

    Ben I am with Jenet statements! Yes PDF are totally indexable if you generate those as real content not an IMAGE.

    Here is small search queery you can use to make it prove.

    “Site:yourdomain.com “some text you have added in pdf” or
    “site:yourdomain.com some text you have added in pdf filetype:pdf”

    Hope that helps!

  • Rajesh_magar

    Hi Shahzad,

    Solutions is pretty simple make sure you that you PDF documents is unfollowe, unindex for search engine, robot.txt is great to do so.

    And you done!

  • Rajesh_magar

    Hi Rameez,

    Definitely there would’t be any problem with that, if you taking care of duplicate content problem.

    In-fact content reformation is one of the great technique and really effective too.

  • http://www.tiptechnews.com/ Rameez Ramzan Ali

    Yes, you are right recently Matt Cutt also said that over internet there are 25% content are copied so we need to think about that

  • Zach Stone

    Great post Janet, 100% agree with everything you stated. One reason I am not a huge fan of pdfs is that unless I am mistaken you can’t redirect them if you have outdated information or you want to take them down for one reason or another. So, if another website picks up the pdf and you have to take it down you can’t redirect them back to your website or another more relevant piece of content. The ease of navigation is also an issue for me. PDFs definitely have benefits and can be used in a variety of different ways, thanks!

  • Mary Kay Lofurno

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for the post. I come from the school of providing things in various formats, html, pdfs, etc. Next, there used to be a product called PDFsalesleads and it was a wonderful little thing where you could could process the pdf with a script in it where a small form would come up where people could put in their information and you would receive the lead. If they did not want to, there was a cancel button. The company that made this product deep-sixxed it.

  • Mary Kay Lofurno

    Hi Janet,

    Thanks for the post. I come from the school of providing things in various formats, html, pdfs, etc. Next, there used to be a product called PDFsalesleads and it was a wonderful little thing where you could could process the pdf with a script in it where a small form would come up where people could put in their information and you would receive the lead. If they did not want to, there was a cancel button. The company that made this product deep-sixxed it.

  • Dave Breda

    You mean Adobe forms?

  • Gareth Mailer

    I think one of the larger problems with using PDF files is the propensity for the file format to contain pay wall, or premium content. If this content is linked to and crawled by the search engine, then it obviously makes it relatively easy for anyone to pick up using the filetype: operator.

    There are obviously ways to stop this from happening i.e. limiting crawl access, but many publishers aren’t savvy enough to implement them, as is evident by simply doing a filetype: search against any range of membership sites (even some SEO sites).

  • jrstark

    A PDF is a document, it should be additional content not the main article. Have you tried opening it on your smartphone? What about the people who don’t have or want to open another program to read it? I almost always prefer to link to a summary, not the PDF itself.

  • Mary Kay Lofurno

    Hi Dave, Not sure if Adobe has a product like this. Essentially, it was great because a form would pop up within the pdf. People could delete the form and still get the pdf doc if they wanted it but we used to get a quite a few leads from this product because pdfs and whitepapers tend to get forwarded around in orgs. Mary Kay

  • http://www.shannonhutcheson.ca/ Shannon

    Honestly? I’m more inclined to read an actual site page before a PDF. I have tons of downloaded PDFs from “free” offers when you sign up to a site’s newsletter or RSS via email – I forget to even read them most of the time. Just saying. :)