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SEO for Other File Types – It’s Not Just About HTML

Many people get myopic when they approach SEO and think that it’s all about optimizing their HTML pages.  While your HTML webpages are primary ways that people may first encounter your brand and website online, your website is often a repository of other very useful files that your regular users and brand advocates have come to know and trust you for.  Did you know that you can optimize your file types that are not HTML webpages to give you more value in the search engines?  You are probably using these files online right now including:

  • PDFs
  • Doc files
  • PPT Files
  • Excel Documents

There are a few principles that are overarching on all of these file types that you can incorporate into your approach that will get you much more traction than if you load your content online haphazardly.

1. Name Your Files with Keyword Focus

Just like a webpage, you should be thinking about naming your file as keyword focused as possible.   This is even more important for a page that is a document.  In these cases the file name tells the search engines a lot about the theme of the page.  Avoid naming files with numbers as they may automatically get tagged in your content management system or content repository and put a keyword focused filename to get the most value.

  • Example Non-Keyword Focused Filename:
  • Example Keyword Focused Filename:

2. Take Advantage of File Property Fields

Similar to the filename – this area of your document can tell the search engines more about your content than the file on its own.  These properties are easily accessed and updated.  In your PDF files they are up in file menu under “properties”.

In your word, excel or other documents you may be using you can go into the advanced properties.   These are also beneficial to helping the search engines understand your documents.

3. Create Links Back to Your Site

More often than not, people overlook the opportunity to make sure that their online documents contain links back to their websites.  Your online documents have an ability to be shared and redistributed across the web, including loading the documents to their own websites.  These are easy opportunities for  you to create more internal links from the document and, potentially, more external links when the document is shared across the web.  You can approach your links as either image links or text links to your documents depending on format preferences, and make sure to use keyword focused links back to your internal pages if at all possible.