Just Say No to Adding More PDFs to Your Website

by Joanna Pineda Posted on April 19, 2012

We build a lot of websites at Matrix Group and most of them are loaded with PDF files. Clients post PDF files of their newsletters, their legislative updates, their magazines, their white papers, and on and on. While it’s easy to create a PDF from Word, InDesign, Quark or Illustrator, and yes, PDFs look pretty, I think organizations should post fewer PDFs and convert more of their content to html. Here’s why:

PDF Files Are Not Search-Engine Friendly

When Should You Use PDF Files?

Ways to Make Your PDFs More Search-Engine Friendly

If your site does have PDF files, follow these tips to make the files more findable by search engines.

Want to learn more?

3 replies on “Just Say No to Adding More PDFs to Your Website”

Pat, thanks for the question. If your site has a ton of legacy PDF files, I say keep them there. I don’t think it makes sense to take them down unless you have the time to convert them to PDF files.

If you don’t have the resources to convert them, I recommend prioritizing the PDFs and converting the most important content to html. For example, most organizations want their positions on key issues widely available the search engines, the media, the Hill and the public. Most organizations don’t have a ton of policy statements, so these would be great to convert.

Or, you can decide that moving forward, key content will be in html, others will be in PDF for ease of posting and the archives will be in PDF because you don’t have the resources to convert content from the past.

For me, the most important thing is to plan for where you want to be in the future and act accordingly today.

Hi Joanna,

I’m going to forward this post to some of the agency directors I work with at DC.gov. The agencies tend to use tons of PDFs that I’ve been suggesting should become structured content for a lot of the reasons that you mention. Perfect timing.

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