Can A Search Engine Like Index My PDF Files?

Nov 10, 2006 - 6:51 am 5 by

pdf_logo_trefoil.gifA Search Engine Watch Forums thread has a member not understanding why Google has not indexed his PDF files. To make a long story short, Google did index his PDF files, but I thought it would make a nice quick post to explain the type of PDF documents search engines can or cannot index well.

Like with any document, HTML, PDF, Word file, etc, the search engines love text. So you write this document, 100% text in Word and then you convert it to a PDF file. Some PDF convertors will translate the text in the document into text format in the PDF document. Some PDF convertors will take an image screen capture of the Word file and use that within the PDF document.

Now images may look fine, but just like you cannot copy and paste the text from an image from one text editor to another, the same is with this PDF document.

If a search engine cannot read the text, due to it being a graphic and not text, then it won't be able to fully index the words on the document.

I assume, eventually, if not now, search engines will use OCR technology to read those PDF files that appear to be text driven, but in reality they are graphics.

So how do you know if your PDFs are Search Engine Friendly? Try to copy and paste the body text from the PDF to a text editor like Word or Note Pad. If that works, then it is most likely that Google, Yahoo!, MSN (, and will index those PDFs.

Forum discussion at Search Engine Watch Forums.


Popular Categories

The Pulse of the search community


Search Video Recaps

Google Core Update Flux, AdSense Ad Intent, California Link Tax & More - YouTube
Video Details More Videos Subscribe to Videos

Most Recent Articles

Blog Administration

Programming Note: Offline For Passover

Apr 22, 2024 - 4:05 pm
Search Forum Recap

Daily Search Forum Recap: April 22, 2024

Apr 22, 2024 - 4:00 pm
Google Search Engine Optimization

Google: We Need Very Few Links To Rank Pages; Links Are Less Important

Apr 22, 2024 - 7:51 am

Google Tests Discussion and Forums Questions With Answers Box

Apr 22, 2024 - 7:41 am
Google Search Engine Optimization

Forbes Blocks Its Coupon Directory Before Google Enforces The Site Reputation Abuse Policy

Apr 22, 2024 - 7:31 am
Google Maps

Google Tests Posts Button In Local Listing Business Profile

Apr 22, 2024 - 7:21 am
Previous Story: Google Tests AdWords "Account Snapshot" Beta