PDF: Accessibility and SEO

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Google is often described as the Internet’s biggest blind user.
Is this true when it comes to PDF? AccessibilitéWeb shares research results on the subject.

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  • Kuddos for the thorough research. I was sorry to miss your talk at CSUN12. One year later, even reading the slides only it is still captivating and of great relevance.
    To feed the discussion currently running on Linked In, opposing PDF to other document formats, it would be interesting to conduct the same research with DOC, ODT, and the like!

    Yours truly,
    Olivier Nourry
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  • Bravo pour l'étude poussée. J'avais regretté de manquer ta présentation à CSUN12. Un an après, même avec les seuls slides, elle est toujours aussi intéressante et pertinente.
    Pour alimenter le débat en cours sur Linked In, opposant PDF à d'autres formats bureautiques, il serait intéressant de mener cette même étude sur DOC, ODT, et consorts!

    Amicalement,
    Olivier Nourry
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PDF: Accessibility and SEO

  1. 1. PDF: Accessibility and SEO CSUN 2012 March 1st, 2012 – San Diego2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 1
  2. 2. Intellectual property These contents are completely under a Creative Commons license. • 2012. Some rights reserved • Attribution – Noncommercial – Share Alike http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca/deed.en_CA2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 2
  3. 3. Speaker Vincent François General manager, Coopérative AccessibilitéWeb, Montréal, Québec 9 years experience, Web accessibility W3C invited expert, Evaluation and methodology Task force (2011) E-mail: vf@csaw.ca Twitter: @vincent45nord2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 3
  4. 4. Overview PDF: Accessibility and SEO Google is often described as the Internet’s biggest blind user. Is this true when it comes to PDF? AccessibilitéWeb shares research results on the subject.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 4
  5. 5. Agenda Project Questions Testing Scenario, Tools, Categories, Data Categories Results Summary Questions2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 5
  6. 6. Project Questions 1. Do the accessibility guidelines help the PDF files being indexed by search engines? 2. Can accessibility guidelines hurt indexing efforts? 3. For PDF, is Google really the biggest blind user on the Internet?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 6
  7. 7. Testing Scenario First tests conducted by AcceDE in France. Complementary testing done by AccessibilitéWeb in Québec. Developed specific PDF test files (tagged, partially tagged, untagged), to measure different test categories. No prior determination of the accessibility level of tested PDF files. No specific SEO strategy or optimization changes brought to the PDF files.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 7
  8. 8. Testing Tools PDF converted from OpenOffice Writer 3.3.0 and final tagging with Acrobat Pro X. Indexing with Google Web Master Tools. Search with Google on specific domain name, with specific file extension (.pdf).2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 8
  9. 9. Testing Categories • Titles • Main content language • Replacement text • Semantic structure tagging • Reading content order • Metadata • Language changes • Color contrast • Complex Table2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 9
  10. 10. Testing Data Different files sets for each category, including: • Basic text : litteral English background text. • Target text: short technical English text meant to be found by Google, without significant common words within the basic text. • French quote: short French paragraph of text to be found by Google.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 10
  11. 11. Reporting Structure OK : Indexed file and target text found. NO : Indexed file and target text not found. N/A : File not indexed.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 11
  12. 12. Titles Does the metadata title impact Google?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 12
  13. 13. Titles Files set 1. No tag, no title. 2. No tag, title. 3. Tagged file, no title 4. Tagged file, title2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 13
  14. 14. Titles Results Title is used by Google and displayed in the results page.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 14
  15. 15. Main content language Is Google taking into consideration the specified main content language?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 15
  16. 16. Main content language Files set 1. No tag, no language specified. 2. No tag, language = “French”. 3. No tag, language = “English”.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 16
  17. 17. Main content language Results Google does not take into consideration the specified language.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 17
  18. 18. Replacement text Is Google reading the replacement text?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 18
  19. 19. Replacement text Files set 1. No tag, figure without replacement text. 2. Tagged file, figure with replacement text.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 19
  20. 20. Replacement text Results Google does not read the replacement text.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 20
  21. 21. Semantic structure tagging Is Google taking into consideration the semantic structure in tags?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 21
  22. 22. Semantic structure tagging Files set 1. No tags. 2. Tagged file, with some <H1> and <H2>.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 22
  23. 23. Semantic structure tagging Results Google does not take into consideration the semantic structure in tags.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 23
  24. 24. Reading content order Is Google taking into consideration the content order reflow?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 24
  25. 25. Reading content order Files set 1. Target text: “ordrematusbalatum belli”. 2. Tagged file, reading order = “ordrematusbalatum belli”, reflow order = “ordrematusbalatum belli”. 3. Tagged file, reading order = “balatum belli ordrematus”, reflow order = “ordrematusbalatum belli”. 4. Tagged file, reading order = “ordrematusbalatum belli”, reflow order = “balatum belli ordrematus”.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 25
  26. 26. Reading content order Results Google does take into consideration the content orders reflow.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 26
  27. 27. Metadata Are other metadata (Author, Summary, Update date) taken into consideration by Google? • These are mandatory metadata according to SGQRI 008-02.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 27
  28. 28. Metadata Files set 1. Basic text with correct tags, Author metadata = “Vincent François”. 2. Basic text with correct tags, Summary metadata = Target text. 3. Basic text with correct tags, no Author, no Summary. Test scenario Searching Target text. Searching modification date.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 28
  29. 29. Metadata Results The other metadata have no impact on the search.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 29
  30. 30. Language changes Does indicating the language changes help to find content?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 30
  31. 31. Language changes Files set 1. Basic text including the French quote, no tag. 2. Basic text including the French quote, French tagged only. 3. Basic text including the French quote, basic and French tagged. Test scenario Searching French quote.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 31
  32. 32. Language changes Results In our test, indicating language change helps to find the entire French quote.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 32
  33. 33. Colour contrast Does the colour contrast have any impact on indexing?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 33
  34. 34. Colour contrast Files set 1. Target text, black on white along with unique word = “First” 2. Target text, pale grey on light grey (#D4D1CD/#EBEBEB, contrast = 1.3:1) along with unique word = “Second” 3. Target text, white on white along with unique word = “Third”2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 34
  35. 35. Colour contrast Test scenario Searching Target text.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 35
  36. 36. Colour contrast Results Color contrast have to impact.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 36
  37. 37. Complex Table Does a well tagged complex table help finding the data in it? • Target text: explanations to choose a specific form, depending upon birthplace and age2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 37
  38. 38. Complex Table Files set 1. Target text in a complex table, without tag. 2. Target text in a complex table, with tag but without explicit link between data cells and headers. 3. Target text in plain text. 4. Target text in a complex table, with tag and explicit link between data cells and headers.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 38
  39. 39. Complex Table Test scenario Searching Target text.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 39
  40. 40. Complex Table Results No impact at all.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 40
  41. 41. Summary 1. Are the accessibility guidelines helping the PDF files being indexed by search engines? Very little help. Yes for titles, reading content order. No for main content language, replacement text, semantic structure tagging, metadata, language changes, color contrast, complex table.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 41
  42. 42. Summary 2. Can accessibility guidelines hurt indexing? No.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 42
  43. 43. Summary 3. For PDF, is Google really the biggest blind on the Internet? Not really, but in order to maintain its title, Google should learn to benefit from the work coming from the accessibility field.2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 43
  44. 44. More information PDF accessibles et référencement (AcceDE, French) http://www.pdf-accessible.com/fr/pdf-et-accessibilite/accessibilite-pdf-et- seo/ Raw files http://accessibiliteweb.com/pdf-seo/pdf-seo-test-page.html AccessibilitéWeb (French) http://accessibiliteweb.com2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 44
  45. 45. Questions?2012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 45
  46. 46. Thank you Vincent François Email: vf@csaw.ca General Manager Web: www.accessibiliteweb.com Blog: Coopérative AccessibilitéWeb Twitter : @vincent45nord 1751 Richardson street, suite 6111 Montreal (Quebec), Canada H3K 1G6 Spkr8 - Comments, suggestions Toll Free: +1 (877) 315-5550 http://spkr8.com/t/93632012. AccessibilitéWeb Toll Free: 1 (877) 315-5550 46

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