PDF proof your Website

As a ShopFactory eCommerce merchant, you are most likely posting PDFs as product spec sheets or brochures on your website. But many online stores are not utilizing this format to its full potential. The simple fact is: PDF documents are web pages too.

As a ShopFactory ecommerce merchant, you are most likely posting PDFs as product spec sheets or brochures on your website. But many online stores are not utilizing this format to its full potential. The simple fact is: PDF documents are web pages too.

PDFs have a number of uses including: Product catalogs or specification sheets, price lists, brochures, manuals or user documentation, fillable forms, press releases, white sheets, archival records and so much more.  PDFs play a vital role in business communication which is why the search engines index them.

Not only can they increase awareness of your website or products, they can help drive traffic to your website if you do it right. Google returns search results for PDF documents just like any other web page.

Most online businesses do not optimize PDFs properly for the purpose of driving traffic or sales though. When you optimize PDFs at the time you create them, you can also increase the value of the content on your site as a whole.

If you sell products, and you add a link to a search engine optimized PDF — you can effectively increase the performance of that web page in the eyes of the search engine. That is if the information between the two electronic formats is closely related, and not just duplicated.

PDF documents are more likely to be downloaded and saved to your visitors’ computer than an actual web page. The portability of a PDF can pay for itself in your company promotion, since a visitor may save a PDF on their desktop for later use. It can be a reminder of where they obtained that document from in the first place.

While some businesses may not be able to invest in a full PDF creation tool, there are some low cost solutions available. You can download a free PDF print driver, which can convert your Word documents into a PDF through the print driver. The PDF print driver can also be used with many other layout programs you might already have.

The important thing to remember is not to save your PDF out so that it is a "single image" with in the PDF file. That kind PDF conversion can end up being a larger file size and not add any value to your website since fonts are converted as “part of the image” in the process. You want to ensure your text is read by the search engine.

Here are some other quick hints for creating and optimizing your PDF documents:

  • When creating your layout, always use standard paper sizes. Many users will print a single page, or sets of pages from PDFs. You will want to accommodate for this.
  • In a full PDF editor, Hit CTRL D (or goto file/properties) from within your PDF after creating it and enter the title, author, subject and keywords. These all help make your PDF document search engine optimized.
  • Be sure to use the "reduce" file size or use the "optimize file" tools within your PDF editor. The smaller the file size, the faster they load on the web. This is especially important if you have a PDF with large images, or lots of images. You can reduce the quality settings of images to your liking to ensure faster downloading to your visitor's computer.
  • Keyword your .PDF file name just like you would for other web pages and image filenames. Use descriptive_keywords_in_your_file_name.pdf for search engines.
  • Always create a visible link back to your site with-in the PDF.
  • If creating PDFs for products — include a call to action and link it directly to your product/website page. For example: Buy this product now — Click here. You can also use a www.santu.com "Buy Now" button for people to buy directly from with in the PDF. This increases your PDF and website's usability with the search engines (internal site links) and user’s alike (lead to more sales).
  • You don't have to add PDF URL’s to your sitemap.xml either — the search engines pick them up automatically through any link you provide on your site’s web pages. Just remember to link to them!


Once you start utilizing these types of "web pages" properly - The proof is in the PDF.