Recently, there was an article on MarketingSherpa (membership required) in which Martin Edic set forth 10 tips for optimizing PDFs for search. While access to the article requires membership, there was a posting on SearchNewz by Navneet Kaushal that summarized the ten tips presented, and the author appears to have posted a screenshot of the full article here.
While the tips mentioned in the MarketingSherpa article are mostly accurate (there are some inaccuracies regarding duplicate content, and stuffing meta keywords has been irrelevant for years), the article clearly missed some crucial factors in terms of optimizing pdfs for search. Among other things, the article failed to mention tagging content, specifying the reading order of PDFs, and how to influence meta descriptions.
Sure, it’s great if you can get PDFs indexed and perhaps rank well, but if you don’t know how to specify the reading order and influence meta descriptions, there’s little likelihood that anyone is every going to click on the PDF in the search results. If that’s the case, what good is a high-ranking PDF?
For a much more in-depth and illustrated article, read What you don’t know about optimizing PDFs can hurt you. It’s a substantial article that contains 17 tips regarding how to optimize PDFs and several screen captures to help you understand the issues.