March 17th, 2017 by Bob Bly
My esteemed colleague, white paper guru Gordon Graham, recently
told me and his many other readers that, just like a web page,
your white papers should be optimized for search engines.
As Gordon explained, “Web spiders can index PDFs on the web so
that they show up in search results.”
That’s why you should always include your chosen keywords as
“descriptive metadata” in any white paper you post online.
(Descriptive metadata can include elements such as title,
abstract, author, and keywords.)
So how do you insert the metadata with the keywords into your
white paper PDF?
To insert metadata using Adobe Acrobat:
1. Open the PDF with Acrobat and select File > Properties.
2. In the Document Properties dialog, on the Description panel,
enter your preferred title, author, subject, and keywords
(separated by commas) in the appropriate text boxes. Then click
3. Select File > Save.
To insert metadata using InDesign:
If you have InDesign, you can insert metadata in your white paper
file and then generate a fresh PDF.
If your designers don’t know how to do this, share the following
process with them:
1. Open the white paper file with InDesign and select File > File
2. In the File Info dialog box, enter your preferred document
title, author, description, and keywords (separated by commas) in
the appropriate text boxes. Then click OK.
3. Select File > Save to save your updated file.
4. Then select File > Export.
5. In the Export dialog, select Adobe PDF with your regular PDF
options. Then click OK.
To insert metadata using Word:
If you have a recent version of Word, you can insert metadata in
a more roundabout way. Here’s how:
1. Open the white paper file with Word, press Alt+F, and select
Prepare > Properties.
2. In the Document Information panel, enter your preferred title,
subject, and keywords (separated by commas) in the appropriate
3. Press Alt+F and select Save As and then select PDF or XPS.
4. In the Publish as PDF or XPS dialog, navigate to the folder
you want, enter a suitable file name, and click Publish.
To insert metadata using your Mac:
If you have a Mac, you can use Adobe Acrobat or InDesign as
Or you can use a nifty piece of freeware that makes up for the
limitations of Preview, called Combine PDFs. You can download it
When you have Combine PDFs running, do this:
1. Select File > Add Files.
2. In the Open dialog, select the white paper PDF and click Open,
then select Options > Add Metadata.
3. In the Add Metadata dialog, enter your preferred title,
author, subject, and keywords (separated by commas). Then click
4. Click Merge PDFs in the lower-right corner.
5. In the Save dialog, enter a file name and click Save.
Note that CombinePDFs is shareware, so after you process 1,000
pages with it, it asks you to pay for a license.
Gordon advises that if you use it that much, you should shell out