CORPORATE REPORTING BEST PRACTICE: Combine web presence with an accompanying PDF

Goals

  • Get key data found by stakeholders, raters and rankers.
  • Get indexed by search engines (Google).
  • Address varied preferences for delivery formats.
  • Make information accessible for all audiences on all devices.

Solutions

  • Think like your audience(s) and put the information where it is expected to be
    • Place or link to key financial and non-financial performance metrics on the investor relations web page; make it easy to find for web crawlers and analysts alike.
    • Have a separate page dedicated to showcasing corporate responsibility efforts.
    • Highlight diversity, equity and inclusion programs on the careers page.
  • Focus on SEO so search engines pick up the pages
    • Add meta tags, alt tags, title tags to help better describe what is on the page.
    • On a webpage, keywords can be placed in a certain hierarchy that make them more recognizable for SEO than a PDF would.
  • Include a PDF and optimize its searchability
    • Google scans the contents of PDF’s unless restricted, like a password protection, although it will never be as clean and effective as a webpage.
    • Incorporate SEO attributes within PDFs (Title, Author, Subject, Keywords).
    • Reduce file size as much as possible.
  • Consider ADA optimization especially if a high percentage of your audience is the general public
    • Accessibility can be improved simply by improving contrasts, updating tab orders, and adding alt tags to images.
    • PDFs—as well as any documents posted to your site—are required to meet accessibility standards
      • Most PDF’s are not optimized for ADA compliance.
      • Minimal added time is needed to optimize a PDF, only AFTER it is complete.
      • If you tab through a PDF, it should follow the headings and any links from top to bottom.

Keep in mind, it’s a balancing act

  • Users are able to edit the text on a PDF if they are not password protected. However, Google will NOT crawl a password protected document.
  • PDF’s are not as easy to read on a mobile device, whereas responsive websites are optimized for all sizes, making it easier to find information.

Conclusion:

It comes down to which solution provides the most value (to your target audience), best results, and is future ready. A combination of webpage content with a PDF as a backup will always serve you best.

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