How to create search engine optimized product datasheets

These instructions are based on using Adobe Acrobat to edit PDF documents so some may be unique to that software.

Search-friendly Filenames

Treat the filename as you would treat the filename of any other webpage. Use words that are useful to users and consider search volume. If you neglect to specify a title, the filename will be shown as the title in search engine results pages (SERPs).

Document Properties

Open your PDF in Acrobat Professional, click on File > Properties. You will see a dialog box similar to the below with the ‘Description” tab highlighted.

The Description field in a PDF document is equivalent to the meta description in any other page. This will be displayed in SERPs beneath the Title. You have the same character limit as you do with a meta description – roughly 130-150 characters.

Keyword-optimized titles

The title is displayed on the SERP. You have the same character limit as you do with a regular title tag – around 65 characters.

Author Field

PDF document settings let you specify an author. In most cases it’s appropriate to use your company name, but there is no downside to using a person’s name as the author, though if your goal is brand-building, using the company name may be more appropriate.

Keyword Field

This is equivalent to meta keywords, so approach it in the same fashion. It may not be a ranking factor in the major search engines but it’s still good form to complete this field with some relevant keywords.

Add Tags and Accessibility Features

This is a lesser-known feature that can make a difference. In Adobe Acrobat, you can go up to the Advanced menu and find a sub-menu for Accessibility. The options within this sub-menu will let you add functionality for your document to be read by screen readers and magnifiers. You should also be able to add Tags in order to better categorise your document.

Alt Tags for Images

It’s possible to include “alt” tags on images within your PDF, so don’t forget about those. Approach them the same way you would any on-site image tagging.

Don’t Forget About Links

Treat PDF document much like you would treat a web page. Make sure to add a link back to your website as that other websites may host copies of your PDF, and a link in the document will give you a backlink to your website. This is also helpful for when a prospect downloads a PDF – it makes it easy to drive them back to the website at a later date.

Reduce File Sizes

Large file sizes means slower load times. This has a negative impact on the users behavior and ranking. Use the tool located under Document > Reduce File Size to reduce the size of PDF.

Avoid duplicating content

Try to avoid duplicating content across PDFs, much as you would do for web pages. Remember to delete old versions of PDFs from your web server when newer versions become available.