SEO best practices for file optimization

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A Quick guide of 7 tips to get search visibility for your files, images, powerpoint presentations etc.


  • 1. 2014 Symantec - All rights reserved Page 1 of 7 SEO Best Practices: Tips for file Optimization By Loren George McKechnie SEO Manager Americas These simple tips will increase the visibility and prominence of your documents, be it pdfs, whitepapers, PowerPoint presentations, videos, images, or any type of file you wish to be found. These tips can even help you find that email attachment from last October. I know its in here somewhere. The job of finding a file, is a daunting one, even when you know where to look. The web is made up of 60+ Trillion web pages, and Google alone handles 100 Billion web searches per month. The Google index is 100+ million gigabytes and growing. While search algorithms are evolving on a continual basis, this guide will give you some tips and tricks to garner better visibility for the content and topics within your files. Utilize these tips for improved visibility in web-based internet searches or improved find functionality within your own computer. Tip #1-File names: The filename is a critical element to searchers, as an indication of relevance, as well as to search engines. Here are a few best practices to help your file be found, shared, and utilized. Use all lowercase characters in the filename Spell out any acronyms, think of the general topic area and the solution it offers to users when file naming. use-hyphens-between-words. File Systems differentiate between capital letters, and lowercase ones. Thus, File.pdf (mixed case) and file.pdf (all lowercase) are two different documents. FILE.pdf (all caps) is a third unique document. 16 different possible versions (2 to 4th power)Thats why some passwords require a capital letter. Webpage URLs are files as well, so if you link to a filename which is mismatched, in terms of upper/lower/mixed-casing from the original or desired location, it may fail to find the file/webpage. Its just better to use all lowercase letters when file naming and linking. Make sure your file names do not include spaces or underscores, such as BE 2014_Whitepaper.pdf Instead, use a dash, also known as a -hyphen to separate words in the file name. Why use Hyphens? An underscore _ visually disappears when underlined in a hyper_link, and the underscore is not seen as a as a word-separator for search engine indexing. What is in a filename? For example, backup-exec-smallbusiness-edition-whitepaper.pdf lets the average user understand the content within the file. Or if we put ourselves into the shoes of our users, we can be even more descriptive, and think about the solution a searcher is seeking. i.e. whitepaper- how-backup-exec-smallbusiness-secures-your-valuable data.pdf, obviously the content and purpose of
  • 2. 2014 Symantec - All rights reserved Page 2 of 7 the asset will dictate the best naming convention, these are just examples. Its also important to have the prospective search topic keyword within the filename and title of the article. Tip #2 -Embed Links back to your website Links from a document to a webpage, when clicked by users, or crawled by search engines, indicate importance and relevance to the linked page. Attempt to choose the most relevant pages, when you are inserting a link, also think of the users experience when landing on the page. Does the experience of coming to the linked page, make sense, in relation to what the user is expecting? Links are great to extend the utility of a document, by offering more in depth information on a webpage, but dont overdo it with too many links. When inserting links you have a few choices, either type out the long form link starting with http:// i.e. http://sitename/page.filetype which causes most programs to automatically insert a hyper-link and change the text to a blue underlined link. Or you can also create/customize a link by right clicking on any text, and choosing hyperlink from the menu. (Same for Apple and PC Operating Systems) Right Click on a word: To Create a custom Anchor Text Link. Optimize Link Anchor Text: Linking with a short and concise text link, is certainly more appealing than a long url, or a utilizing a URL shortening service like bitly. You have probably seen read morelinks, or text with an underlying link. The visible Anchor text, to which an underlying backlink is attached, is also a signal of relevance to search engines. Hover your mouse over the anchor text, and your program will show you the underlying hyper-link destination. This can be accomplished within various types of documents, and within many programs, Adobe, and MS Office programs, Word, Power-point, even within Outlook/Emails. By having embedded links within a document, users who share & post files on other servers will be posting links back to our own website pages, thereby helping the SEO ranking ability of your website. Its also a great way to engage users and educate them as the link suggestslearn more. But be sure to optimize the anchor text, from learn more which is not very descriptive, or indicative of the topic to learn more about the specific product or concept.
  • 3. 2014 Symantec - All rights reserved Page 3 of 7 Be sure to put a link at the end of the document, as a call to action, to drive users to your website, or another file, after they have finished consuming your document. You can also insert an email-hyperlink, to your email address, or any other text. This causes the users default mail program to open and pre-populate the subject line, i.e. Email: Loren McKechnie Give it a click! Or Contact us Tip# 3 -Every PDF needs a Title, and an author While the filename is most important, dont stop there. The title within the document properties squeezes out a few extra drops of SEO juice, adding another layer of relevance, and creating desire to click on a link, within search results. Look at this beautiful, blue link/document title. Example of a PDF file title appearing within as search. Document Titles and other MetaData can be found under Document Properties or (File>Properties). Always fill in the Title field limiting it to about 65 characters. As the end of the PDF title may get cutoff by Google (see example above), put the most important keywords in the beginning. Be sure to complete the Title, Author, Subject and Keywords fields shown within Properties.
  • 4. 2014 Symantec - All rights reserved Page 4 of 7 4) Always use text-based PDFs When is a picture not worth 1,000 words? Unfortunately Search engines are blind to text within images, so make sure the words in your images and PDFs are basic text. It is possible to save your pdf file as one big image. This makes the content invisible to search engines. You can identify readable text by highlighting basic copy-and-paste-able text with your mouse; image text will highlight the entire image, not individual words. Pictures of words, commonly found as graphic images cannot be understood by search engines. Remember to utilize text for the most important content in the PDF especially page headings and sub-headings. Explain takeaways in text format. Presentations commonly use graphics and charts to make or assert point. Be sure to spell-out and summarize these conclusions, with the text of your document, so search engines can comprehend. It can also be helpful to include a table of contents, and make sure the headings in the table of contents include the most important keywords for the document. Search engines are also aware of italics, bold or other emphasis formatting and take these into account when determining relevance within a document. 5) Using Alternative Text for Images and SEO Sometimes you must heavily rely on the use of images and graphics. Search engines have a tag especially for this purpose, to help those who are blind understand the content and message of an
  • 5. 2014 Symantec - All rights reserved Page 5 of 7 image. To utilize this feature, attempt to describe the content within the File> Properties> image alt- text field. Using alt text for images is also a great way to insert keywords in a page, as it can contribute to higher search engine rankings for that page, via a web search, not just for an image search. Here are a few tips for alt- text field: Make your alt text and image title slightly different Use SEO target keywords that describe the image in the alt text Keep alt text relevant to the image its describing (i.e. product box photo of Backup Exec Small Business Edition) Create different alt text for each important image Use keywords in your image file name To add Alt Text to images within a PDF, open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat (this wont work in Reader). With your PDF open, select Tools > Advanced Editing > Touchup Reading Order Tool as shown below. Adobe will then highlight your images and allow you to edit each one. 6) Keep the file size under control, smaller is better. Huge size files will take longer to load, diminishing user experience and search engine indexing. Most files can be saved with compressed resolution pictures. Adobe allows saving web-optimized versions of your PDFs. There are various techniques for this, such as reducing image resolution etc. There are Tools next to the save as button, then select the appropriate compress pictures option for your desired use of the document & needed size compression. Power point files can also be saved as a pdf. docu