In my SEO consulting, I can’t tell you how many times I hear this flawed phrase "I want my site on the top of the search results. Please optimize my website and make it number one in Google." Firstly, you optimize pages, not sites. Secondly, and almost as important is the idea that anything can be optimized!
True, back in the day, it was about sites. And mainly due to the limitations of the times and technology. Earlier on, search engine crawlers, or spiders, the least visible component of search engines’ workings, discovered and indexed only the titles of web pages, and common themes among them would rank well. However today, that is far from complete.
Enter a query, a keyword, key phrase, or just your basic "Search" on any Search Engine, and you are bound to see quite a few different types of files in your SERPs (search engine results pages). Everything from Adobe Acrobat PDFs and Microsoft Office documents, to videos, Flash movies or applications, news stories, blog posts, maps and more.
Further still, you can actually limit your search results to specific types of files that you want! This is extremely powerful, and if you’re a power-searcher, you probably know all of this already. By adding in various search commands, aside from the actual words or query terms, into the search box, you can achieve this.
Also, clicking on the "Advanced Search" on almost any major engine will give you options to narrow down your choices as well.
The Secret Search Command
Okay, Okay, I will give you this powerful search command. Put your search terms into the Google search box, then put in a space, and then type "filetype:" and then put (with no spaces between the colon and this) the 3-letter abbreviation for the file type.
For example, if I want to find only PDF documents about um…let’s say cat food…then I would enter this into a Google search box exactly
"cat food" filetype:pdf.
Now if I wanted Microsoft PowerPoint slides instead, I would replace the pdf with ppt (the PowerPoint filetype extension).
Got it? Good.
File-type Searching and SEO
Now, how does this affect SEO and the optimization consultant? In a big way. Think about it. If anything can be searched…Anything can be optimized.
This is finally the time to go into that area of documents that none but secretaries usually use; File -> Properties. Here, you can add…wait for it…Meta information. Description, keywords, dates, and more.
We all know of the
Alt attribute for images in regards to SEO, but what about this other aspect of other file types?
Look into it. Get into it. And Optimize. Everything. But just don’t get caught Over-Optimizing and getting all Black-Hatty.