ow many times times do you see PDF/Adobe files in the articles section of a lawyers Web site? Give me a break. What are law firms thinking? You sure do not see PDF files often on other Web sites.
First, until recently search engines could not find content on PDF files for Internet users looking for info on the topic covered in the article. Second when an Internet user clicks on the PDF file the link automatically opens a PDF file with no navigation to the main site. Users get a clumsy Adobe window and have no way to explore other pages of the lawyer’s site for more information.
There is no good reason to have PDF files on law firm sites or blogs. Lawyers use PDF for briefs and the like so people can not change content. The same concern is not present for Internet marketing. The argument that another lawyer will take the content and use it in their marketing or educational materials is ridiculous. Most lawyers have scruples, the content is copyright protected and if even the copy was in PDF, it could be scanned or re-keyed in and used by law firms looking to steal content.
One of the reasons lawyers should put content on their site is so that the site can be found by search engines. Why put up content that often can not be seen by search engines?
I am not sure what other net users think but when I see PDF files for those long boring articles on a lawyer’s site I think two things. One, another lazy law firm that does not have the time to make their site easy to use. Two, a law firm that thinks lawyers are so special they do not need to conform to the standards every other business site conforms to by getting their content into text format.
It is possible with Adobe authoring to put hyperlinks into content and some search engines do find terms in PDF. But unless its a document that people will normally print out and complete such as a a form, be smart and pay Internet users some respect, get your PDF documents converted into text and have them part of the navigation of your law blog or Web site.