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Google is Creating Featured Snippets from PDF Content

Google is Creating Featured Snippets from PDF Content

Google has been spotted pulling content from PDFs to create featured snippets.

This is the first time people are seeing this happen. Traditionally, Google would grab content from websites to render featured snippets.

I could reproduce this myself, even when using the same query shown in the screenshot.

It likely varies from user to user, based on what Google believes is most relevant to the individual.

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What Does this Mean for SEOs?

The most important takeaway for SEOs is that PDFs can now receive featured snippet placement, also referred to as “position zero.”

That means, best practices that apply to optimizing web content for featured snippets may now apply to PDFs.

You can learn more about that in a recent SEJ article on doing SEO for zero-click searches.

From the article linked to above:

“…featured snippets are usually won by those pages that are already ranking on Page 1. So, that means improving upon your previous ranking success is still important.”

To learn more about improving on the previous ranking success of PDFs, check out these 10 tips to make your PDFs SEO-friendly.

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From the article:

“Optimizing PDFs for SEO, however, remains a largely untapped opportunity. Google can crawl, index, and rank the documents, but simple best practices are often under-utilized or just unknown.”

Now that PDFs are eligible to appear in featured snippets, we may be seeing much more optimization of PDFs going forward.

Here are some more key takeaways from the SEO community on Twitter:

More Resources


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Matt Southern

Lead News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt Southern has been the lead news writer at Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a degree in communications, Matt ... [Read full bio]

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