Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Message Too Old, No Replies

SEO and Monetizing PDFs

12:16 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

In one of my niches PDFs have become wildly popular by G after Panda. All the sites that ranked high via HTML are now on page 2 rankings and all the PDFs have jumped to the top.

I can see how users like it. But I use to get complaints that it took too long to load. It also was ridiculously hard to monetize PDFs without using frames.

All sites that I have seen in the niche try to use frames or monetize PDFs in anyway have had their rankings tank. So I never made the jump.

It's getting to the point where I have to make the move to PDF. But how do you monetize it without frames? I'm thinking maybe a pop-under? Any ideas guys?
1:51 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator goodroi is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I can think of many ways to monetize PDFs. You can add affiliate links to your PDF. In the content of the PDF you can talk about and promote your company's products/services/ebooks/whatever. Link juice flows through PDFs so you can sell links. You can also sell ad placement or banner placement.

You need to be careful to keep a balance between monetizing and providing value. For example if you replace your informative content with 100% promotional copy users will not be interested and this will lead to poor user engagement plus people are alot less likely to link to promotional copy.
2:51 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)


Thanks for all the great input.

I'm highly interested in banner placement within the PDF files, that's what all my advertisers want.

Problem being, I'm not sure there is a way to embed banner within a PDF file? I can run an HTML frame to serve the ad.
But every site that I have seen do that gets their rankings killed quickly.
5:01 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

One downside I found from a PDF experiment about 2 yeras ago was that Adobe built warnings into the Adobe Reader software so that when someone clicked a link in a PDF to a website, it pops up a warning about the site potentially being dangerous and to make sure it is a trusted zone.

I found clickthroughs from PDF were a *lot* lower than from the alternative web pages.
7:49 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

That's another great point I never thought of. Those security warnings will be a huge pain. Guess i'll have to move to pop unders or frames, can't think of anything else that will work.
8:39 pm on Nov 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I also think it's a risky long term strategy to make an income stream reliant on a 3rd party product, especially a commercial one. Although Adobe REader is "free" in itself, you are basically at the mercy of the supplier and any changes they make - the security issue above being one such instance. Theoretically, one day it could become a dead income stream literally overnight and that's a risk you have to have to weigh up against potential gains.
8:52 am on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Since u are talking about PDFs, I have a queston. Is offering the content of a particular page, an article for example, as PDF too, considered duplicate content? Thanks!
2:09 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good question.

What I do is block the indexing of all PDFs with robots.txt to make sure.

I don't see a way to put a content=rel tag on a PDF.
2:13 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member wheel is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

It should be duplicate, as Google can easily read PDF's.
3:33 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

ValueClick offers interstitial ads which would load when the link to your PDF is clicked. The reader is sent to the full page ad and has an option to watch it as a 15 second clock counts down or click again and go straight to the page.
4:16 pm on Nov 25, 2011 (gmt 0)


You're my hero! Just the answer I have been looking for. A 1000 Thanks Dude.
2:56 am on Nov 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

You're welcome, Pjman.
10:26 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I despise websites that use interstitial ads, popups, locked modals and popunders. find another use for your PDF or don't make them. :/

that being said it would be interesting to see what niche(s) we are talking about. is there value in making something informative/useful and getting links from it? that'd be my best strategy and a sustainable one since google hates anyone making money off of ads besides them.
11:09 pm on Nov 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

is there value in making something informative/useful and getting links from it?

There's often outrageous value in a business-to-business market. Often the visitor is not the decision maker, and the conversion cycle can be relatively long.

The initial visitor is often building a short-list for their company, and a really informative PDF can land your company on their short list and help the initial visitor look good to their upper management - the folks who officially make the decision and authorize the funds.

In a situation like this, the PDF is a direct part of the website's purpose - and even though the sales cycle may be long and not always easy to track, people will not easily forget the company that gave them powerful content.

Featured Threads

Hot Threads This Week

Hot Threads This Month