define by selecting File
Properties or File
Document Properties. If you are using
other programs to author your documents, look to their help pages for guidance.
You can also define a description in the document metadata, but the search
engines will generally gather a snippet from the document content anyway.
Non-HTML documents are basically thrown in the mix with all the other documents and
websites in a search engine’s index. So, in addition to inserting metadata as described in
the preceding section, you should follow the same SEO guidelines for non-HTML docu-
ments as you would for your regular web pages: include your target keywords in text,
link to the document from other pages on your site, make sure URLs in the document
are clickable so the search engine robots can follow them, and modify the content for
improved snippets if desired.
We know it’s not always realistic for non-HTML content to be edited based on
SEO principles. And even if optimized, it’s hard for non-HTML documents to rank
well against HTML pages for competitive search terms. You may wish to skip optimiz-
ing the document content beyond basic metadata and hope for good results with the
long tail of search.
You can get a sense of how search engines see your non-HTML content by view-
ing the HTML alternate page created by Google. See Chapter 10 for more information.
When to Remove
You may be surprised to learn that keeping non-HTML documents—even if they rank
well—can create disadvantages for your site. Consider the following:
• Files like PDFs and Microsoft Word documents are stand-alone entities, so they’re
not likely to be integrated into your site’s navigation. If a visitor clicks on one of
these files directly from a search engine, they may never even look at the rest of
your site. You may want to weigh whether making your non-HTML content
Make a determination about whether it’s worth your time to attempt to optimize the visible content
of your PDF files. If so, get started.
Open up one of your non-HTML documents and review the metadata. Insert an optimized page title
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