We were managing a website for a company that specializes in planned giving resources. They were original a little thin on their content, one of those sites that you could visit and still not know why they did. They beefed up the content with some really nice pdfs which provided a lot of information on relevant topics like how a ministry can accept retirement assets.
Can Google Index PDFs?
The general rule of the thumb is that if you can copy and paste the text from a PDF document into a standard text document, we should be able to index that text.https://developers.google.com/search/blog/2011/09/pdfs-in-google-search-results
Unfortunately the pdfs we were working with were very image heavy with a lot of formatting that didn’t carry over well to being copied and pasted or seemingly being indexed by Google. The pdfs got stuck in the Crawled – currently not indexed status in Google Search Console (GSC).
So we created text versions of the resources that would be easier for Google, as well as screen readers and people in a hurry, to read. While also providing the more artistic flyer like pdfs for either download or online reading. Personally I know I hate accidentally downloading pdfs to my phone because I thought I was opening up a normal web page. To me having the option to view a plain text version or a pdf, that is clearly marked as a pdf, makes for a far better user experience. This also got the material indexed by Google and showing up in search engine results pages (SERP).