I run a website that is based on two main content types:

  • Articles: containing common articles with images, lists and paragraphs.
  • Special content: which are articles that contain a text-introduction averaging 80 - 100 words and then an embeded PDF.

The fact that a page does not contain plain text content does not mean it has no value. Actually if you see an example page, you can clearly see this has a lot of value since it is helping the visitor to find the answer to a question in a very detailed way.

Of course, robots cannot know that.

But there must be something I can do to help this content get indexed. It may never get to the top, but it could at least get indexed.

What do you suggest?

Thanks for your attention.

  • If the PDF article contains an abstract, place a text version of it in the cover page. (And if not, make one up yourself.) – Ray Butterworth Dec 3 '19 at 15:03
  • @RayButterworth Thank you. I am embeding my PDFs via PDF.js which actually paints a canvas into the HTML DOM. Do you know if crawlers "see" this content?. That leads to the possibility of creating text cover pages - with an abstract or any made up pure text, since the rest of my PDF's content is handwritten - for all the PDFs and displaying the first page in such a way that the visitor does not see it but bots do (like a small pixel somewhere). – Álvaro Franz Dec 3 '19 at 15:32
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    The biggest problem is that the text contained in the PDF is very hard to read. Press Ctrl+A on the PDF and paste it into a text editor and tell me how much of that you can actually understand. it might be advisable to either dramatically improve the quality of the OCR tool or to typeset the text alltogether, either using TeX/Latex or something way easier, e.g. MathJax (I love MathJax for this kind of thing). – Polygnome Dec 3 '19 at 19:52

The minimum you can do is:

  • to properly markup the HTML part of pages (meta, alt etc.),
  • to write an extended overview, preface and tl;dr into HTML part of pages,
  • to properly fill metadata into your PDF files,
  • to get external links to both of HTML pages and PDF documents,
  • to not exclude PDF from crawling and indexing,
  • ...
  • maybe to run an OCR software over your PDF and fill recognized content into the PDF's metadata.

After that all it remains to hope your content gets good user metrics and Google will valuate this.

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