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Do we lose SEO benefits with PDF uploads using uploads-ssl.webflow.com domain?


#1

I have a PDF I need to host for a client.

Under the advice of SEO specialists, in order to get google to index the file and apply any associated SEO benefits, the PDF should be uploaded to the custom domain eg. http://mysite.com

When I upload the file to my webflow asset library, the URL assigned to the file is: https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/xxxxxxx.pdf

As I understand it, there is no way to change this to use my custom domain, in which case, so I can give a direct link to the PDF for other sites that would like to link to the PDF file using our custom domain, I’ve used javascript so everybody who visits http://mysite.com/mypdf > will automatically go to > https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/xxxxxxx.pdf

This is the javascript:

window.location.replace("https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/xxxxxxx.pdf");

My question: will I lose the SEO backlink benefits using this method when other domains link to the PDF file?


#2

Thank you so much for reaching out about SEO and assets uploaded within your Webflow project. Great question, and I’m here to help!

As you may know - the PDFs will still rank in search, however they will not be attributed to your custom domain.

Setting window.location from script will not be spotted by search engines (Google has detection for simple document.write additions but this won’t catch any of the more advanced DOM scripting stuff).

Attributing to your custom domain does provide SEO benefits, however allowing Amazon to provide the assets is more efficient.

Currently, Google can crawl, index, and rank the documents.

We definitely understand that this process is not the most ideal for SEO. You are not alone in thinking this would be an awesome feature to have in Webflow. It is definitely something you can vote for on our Webflow Wishlist


#3

Hey, I have quick follow up question to this comment:

Does that mean, due to the set up of the document links, there is no way for me to stop Google from indexing a PDF uploaded to Webflow? (I’ve uploaded a doc to my company’s website, and we’d like to stop it from indexing, but so far all attempts have been fruitless, and I’m suspecting this may be the reason.)


#4

@mistercreate – do you have any insights/response to the question I posted above?


#5

Hi @ethan

Thanks for following up with me, and I’m happy to help.

Yes, you can exclude the PDF by adding the adding the following to your SEO settings:
Disallow: /*.pdf for robots.txt

Your robots.txt settings can be found within any project within the SEO tab /seo of your project.

Hopefully, this was helpful. Feel free to let me know if this is helpful, or if you have any additional questions.

I’ll be standing by to help further!


#6

Ah okay, thanks! I actually discovered that earlier today, but was unsure if it would work.


#7

Yeah, I was unaware of it myself, but Nelson shared it with me also.

I was like, “yo, this is so helpful” :slight_smile:


#8

(I’m not an SEO expert, but…)

Instead of a JS redirect, you might try a 301 redirect from your site settings > hosting tab:

Then you can publish your site with a link pointing to https://mysite.com/redirect.pdf and indexers should pick up on the link and content.


#9

@mistercreate It appears that the PDF is still showing in Google.

I did read that the PDF disallow won’t work for PDFs that were already uploaded. And from what I can, tell a more recent PDF that I had to upload is not appearing in Google which is good.

So, I understand that the old PDF may still be appearing because the disallow was added after, but how can i remove it? It doesnt appear to be as simple as adding a redirect to another page, or getting google to remove the url because the file isn’t seen as being from my website. It’s under https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/ , not https://[mysite].com/ or anything like that, and any attempt to get it removed seems to make the url https://[mysite].com/https://uploads-ssl.webflow.com/, which obviously doesnt exist.

It’s the same with setting up a redirect in the webflow 301 area, since it automatically adds my website domain to the start of anything I try to redirect. And I mean, it all makes sense, not being able to redirect anything from outside of your own site.

So, any ideas on this? or is there a way to get it so PDFs and other files are actually under your own website, and not webflow’s uploads-ssl.webflow.com?


#10

Hi @ethan,

Yes, an option is to have the current PDFs deleted from the CDN, as this is something that can be completed as request at https://university.webflow.com/contact

If you do so, I’ll be standing by to push your request along.

In regards to the naming convention: currently, this is not available natively within Webflow, and you are not alone in thinking this would be an awesome feature to have in Webflow. It is definitely something you can vote for on our Webflow Wishlist

However, there is a possible workaround.

You could take advantage of Github Pages: https://pages.github.com/

With Github Pages, you can upload your PDF files to your Github repository, and connect a custom domain to the repository (or subdomain). This would allow you to control the domain name of your PDF files without the need to pay for hosting: https://help.github.com/articles/using-a-custom-domain-with-github-pages/


#11

Ah, thanks very much for all of your help! I will definitely be looking into all of these options.