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Search Engines and PDFs

September 19, 2007
Hi Jill,

I came across your site on Google while trying to find some information and
found it very helpful. However, I did have a question that was not covered.
Will the search engines be able to find text in a PDF document, or am I
better where possible to include the information in a web page?

Thanks in advance for your help.


++Jill's Reply++

Hi Morag,

The search engines do indeed index and rank PDF documents these days.
Basically, what they do is convert them into HTML and then index the
information just like any other web page.  You can see this in the search
results when a PDF file shows up -- there is usually a link nearby that says
"View as HTML."

PDFs are great fodder for search engines because by their very nature they
tend to be text-heavy.

Search Engine Land recently had a good article by Galen DeYoung on how to
optimize PDFs for search engines.

Hope this helps!