Q and A: Will changing my PDF document title impact my search rank?

QuestionHi Kalena

When optimizing a PDF, Adobe Acrobat allows users to choose if they want to display the document’s file name or its title in the title bar at the top of the document (File>Properties>Initial View>Windows Options).

During a recent talk about PDF creation I was asked if changing what’s displayed from the default file name to the actual document title would have an impact on search results.

My gut feeling is that it has a positive impact, but I don’t know enough about SEO to actually confirm this. Do you know?

Thanks heaps!

Cheers
Diane

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Hi Diane

Your gut is right! The way you name your PDF file can impact where it ranks in search results.

A lot of webmasters believe that PDFs can’t be indexed, but in fact, Google has been able to index PDF files since 2001. Despite the different encodings used in PDFs, Google can extract useful data from them, provided they’re not encrypted or password protected. If text is embedded as images, Google can even process the images with OCR algorithms to extract the text.

Just like other web pages, PDF files have the ability to rank highly in search results, depending on their content, if they have been optimized and also depending on the way they’re embedded and linked to from other web pages.

Google uses two main elements to determine the title shown for PDFs: the title meta-data within the file, and the anchor text of links pointing to the PDF file. You can influence the title shown in search results for your PDF document by updating both. Doing this gives the algorithms a strong signal about which title to use.

Links embedded in PDF files are treated similarly to links in HTML: they can pass PageRank and other indexing signals, and Google may follow them after crawling the PDF file.

You can pick up some more tips for optimizing PDF files in these resources:

Hope this helps.

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Google Analytics: Workshops in Auckland, Wellington

google-keyI’ve been running training workshops in conjunction with the Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) here in New Zealand now for over 2 years and really enjoy it.

The next round of workshops coming up are on the subject of: Using Google Analytics to Increase Website Traffic and Conversions.

These half-day workshops will show you step-by-step how to set up Google Analytics and what key metrics to track in order to measure the success and improve the performance of your web site. Included will be real-life case studies, practical examples and sample reports that you can immediately adapt to suit your own requirements.

Whether you’re an IT staffer, marketer, coder, manager or business owner, making sense of your web traffic and conversion rate is hugely important to understanding if your online business is thriving or floundering.

At the end of the course attendees will be able to:

  • Set up a Google Analytics account
  • Implement Google Analytics tracking code into their site
  • Determine which are the most important web site metrics to track
  • Track visitor pathways that lead to conversions
  • See how their web site visitors are interacting with their site
  • See what keywords are providing the most traffic to their site
  • See what web sites are providing the most traffic to their site
  • See what pages on their site are the most popular
  • Track various marketing campaigns in Google Analytics e.g. AdWords, SEO, email campaigns
  • Determine the best performance indicators for their web site
  • Interpret analytics data and make web site decisions based on that data
  • Create meaningful web site analytics reports for customers and stakeholders

Below are the details and booking links for Auckland and Wellington events, so please share with anyone you know who might benefit from attending:

Using Google Analytics to Increase Website Traffic and Conversions – Auckland
Date: 13 November 2014
Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Venue: CBD Office Level 4, 17 Albert Street, Auckland

Using Google Analytics to Increase Website Traffic and Conversions – Wellington
Date: 10 November 2014
Time: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Venue: NZICA Level 7, Tower Building, 50 Customhouse Quay, Wellington

Hope to see you there!

 

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Fast Five in Search – Week 41, 2014

fast-five

 

I had a student ask me about video optimization this week. By video optimization, I mean SEO for videos uploaded to her company YouTube account. Naturally, she wanted her company videos to appear at the top of the search results when anyone conducted a search on YouTube for her business brand.

I referred her to a couple of my favorite video SEO resources and thought that perhaps you readers may find them useful too.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How to Optimize Video: Step by Step Instructions by Jennifer Osborne of Aim Clear. Although this post is a little dated, most of the content is still relevant and it contains some tips you won’t see anywhere else.

2) Moz Whiteboard Friday: SEO for Video Content by Scott Willoughby of Moz. Well, Scott is just the post author, but the content is actually provided in video format by Rand Fishkin in one of his ever-helpful Whiteboard Friday videos.

3) Video SEO: A Technical Guide by Joost de Valk of Yoast. An incredibly clever guy, Joost is the creator of several uber-successful WordPress plugins and knows an enormous amount about SEO. This was the first post I found that waded into the technical concept of meta markup for video content.

4) Distilled Guide to Online Video Marketing by Cheri Percy of Distilled. These guys don’t do things by halves. Big fans of downloadable white-papers and reports, the Distilled crew have created this Guide as a PDF doc for download. It’s pitched as “a practical and expansive guide covering all aspects of online video marketing” and it totally delivers on that promise.

and finally…

5) Schema.org Markup for Videos by Some Poor Guy Who Didn’t Deserve a Name But Apparently Deserved Sub-Titles of Google. This video posted on Google Webmaster Tools Help explains how using schema.org on-page markup to describe your videos will allow Google, Bing, and Yahoo! to index and show your videos in search results.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 40, 2014

fast-five

 

Lots of very interesting tech and search news this week. A couple of game changers for those of us using search channels to market products and services.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google AdWords Offers Ad Creatives at Scale for PPC by Jessica Lee at Search Engine Watch. This month, Google launched the ability for AdWords advertisers to create ads using custom parameters that you want inserted into your ads. Using a spreadsheet you pre-fill, the feature allows AdWords to retrieve product information that is most relevant to what each customer is searching for and dynamically insert it into your ad text.

2) New Panda Update Rolling Out, Google Takes Another Stand Against Thin Content by Matt Southern of Search Engine Journal. Earlier this week, an analyst at Google UK let slip that a new Panda update was in the process of being rolled out to the Google algorithm. Matt has the scoop on what you can expect from this update.

3) The Yahoo Directory – Once the Internet’s Most Important Search Engine – Is to Close by Danny Sullivan of Search Engine Land. This news came as a bit of a shock. As someone whose job (for years) consisted of submitting client sites to the Yahoo Directory, it was an *end of an era* moment to hear the Directory would be closing down. I’m with Danny on this one – Yahoo has cruelly glossed over the closure of the Directory that started the entire company AKA “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”. So long Yahoo Directory.

4) Want to Improve Your Blog’s Conversion Rates? 11 Tests to Try by Pamela Vaughan of HubSpot. In this post, Pamela shares some logical testing formulas for improving your blog’s conversion rate. Suggested items for testing include Click Through Rate, content balance, calls to action and publishing rate.

and finally…

5) 14 Conversion Rate Optimization Tools Every Expert Needs by Steven Macdonald of Search Engine Journal. This one does exactly what it says on the label. Steven has provided a handy list of tools for testing your conversion rate, conveniently categorized by topics such as Analytics, Research and Testing. Be sure to bookmark this one.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Search Engine College Now Teaches in 67 Countries

SEC-smiley-150x178There were cheers in the staff room at Search Engine College this month, when it was announced that we now teach students in 67 different countries worldwide.

The 67 country milestone was reached when a new student from Switzerland took advantage of our Study Month promotion to sign up for our monthly subscription.

Since its inception in 2004, Search Engine College has set new industry standards for online training in the field of Search Engine Marketing and we are very proud to have produced nearly 1,900 happy graduates.

Here’s a list of countries / regions where our students are located :

Argentina
Australia
Austria
Barbados
Belgium
Brazil
Bulgaria
Cayman Islands (UK Territory)
Canada
China
Columbia
Costa Rica
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Dominican Republic
Egypt
England (UK)
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hong Kong (region of China)
Iceland
India
Indonesia
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Jamaica
Jordan
Kenya
Kuwait
Latvia
Lithuania
Malaysia
Malta
Mauritius
Mexico
Montenegro
New Zealand
Norway
Pakistan
Philippines
Portugal
Romania
Russian Federation
Scotland (UK)
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Africa
Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Switzerland
Syrian Arab Republic (Syria)
Thailand
The Netherlands
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Ukraine
Uraguay
USA
Vietnam
West Africa

We’re already taking bets on which country will be next. I’m hoping it’s Antarctica. Oh wait, that’s a continent partly owned by several countries. Um, ok how about Greenland? C’mon you Greenlanders!

 

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