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Should A Site Use PDF’s?

Filed under: web design — Tags:

I wrote the other day on my newest favorite sites page that I stated that they would do better if they converted their news page from a PDF to a regular HTML page, but I suppose that’s not completely true.

Search engines do indeed index many of the PDF documents available on line these days. What they do is convert them into HTML and then index them just like any other web page. If you look at any search result that is a PDF document you will usually see another link next to it that says “View as HTML.”

If you look at these pages converted to HTML you should notice that they may or may not look like the original document. I guess that offends my sense of design or maybe I’m being picky, but there’s also the chance it won’t convey the same message. There’s also a chance that the PDF is an image and not a text based document which means the search engines won’t be able to read it at all.

Search Engine Land has a good post by Galen DeYoung called “Eleven Tips For Optimizing PDFs For Search Engines” which explains this well.

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