Ask the Expert

11/22/2010

- April Nelson - Director of Strategic Accounts

Q: "How can PDFs and Fresh Content be used to gain more visibility for businesses?"

Answer:  The reality is, PDFs are not the best content (URL) to drive visitor traffic to from a user experience perspective, as they don't offer navigational links back to the main website.  One of the main challenges with using PDFs is Google Analytics does not trace incoming traffic / visitors that "land" on PDFs. Though you can report on the number of PDF downloads and tie that back to a source, you lose the more granular page level reporting with regular html pages.

However, there are a few ways to use existing PDFs or repurpose their content to gain more visibility for your business.

For marketing purposes or to get more eyeballs on the content, use the following tips:

1. Add PDFs as attachments in online press releases.

2. Use PDFs as collateral pieces for lead generation. There are a handful of networks who offer a cost per lead program (you supply the white paper, fact sheet, etc. and the parameters for your desired target market. The narrower your requirements, the higher your cost per lead will be.

For SEO purposes or to gain more visibility for your content:

1. Create plain html versions of the content and add it to the main navigation of the website. By doing this, the pages can incorporate "meta data" and will add more keyword rich content to be crawled and indexed by search engines. The content in the PDF needs to be keyword rich and should not duplicate the content that you have on existing pages.

2. Link back to the new pages. This is part of best practices for link building; driving users back to deeper level pages instead of just the Home Page and other top level category pages. For users who find the information valuable may want to share it or link to it. Linking to the play html page is much more valuable for SEO purposes than linking to a PDF. Furthermore, any links driving back to it from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will get the benefit of an inbound (deep) link.

3. Repurpose and use for article submissions. Repurposing content adds value in both SEO and SOCIAL, as the content may get ranked higher in the search results - as a page on an article submission / how to website. Linking back to your website has great linking value and also viral potential.

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