I’ve got the data sheet, but who sells the product?

Yesterday I discussed how to make your PDFs look smarter in the Google results, but there’s another major implication of Google having indexed all your PDF datasheets and brochures. When someone clicks on one in Google, and reads it as a PDF, it’s not within the context of your website. Here’s the big question: do all the PDF documents on your website work in isolation?

This is a particular problem for anyone who’s distributing products for another company, or who is a regional office for a multinational company. It’s quite possible that your PDF documents only have the contact details of the original manufacturer or the head office. On the website, that doesn’t matter. But if people download the document and leave your website, who’s to say they’ll remember where to head back when they want to contact you? You’ve got them all the way to downloading a document from your website, and then you’re running the risk of them not knowing who supplied them with the document! If it was a physical document, you’d ensure it was presented in your company folder, or at least had a distributor’s sticker on it. Online, you need to do just the same.

The simplest way to tackle this is to prepare a company information sheet and append it to every PDF document on your website which doesn’t contain your full company details. Make sure the sheet has a clickable link to your website, and take the opportunity to present and summarise your company. It’s really not a problem for the reader if their two-page data sheet is now a three-page one, or the 16-page brochure is now 17 pages.

As usual, you’ll need some sort of PDF manipulation software such as Adobe Acrobat, although there are cheaper alternatives with more limited (but sufficient) capability, and Mac users can even combine documents as standard. If you have hundreds of such documents to which a cover sheet needs to be added, it’s probably going to require some scripting. Insider Programme members can get me on the case.

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