Can google crawl a password protected pdf linked to from your site?

3 replies
I have a site that gives men's health advice. One part of it includes some explicit information / images, but want to keep nudity (used for scientific purposes, not pornography) off the site to prevent site from accidentally falling under pornography classification.

To cut to the chase, most of this falls on a pdf that they have to click a link on, and enter a password mentioned on the page.

Do you think Google has any way of entering / crawling this pdf if it is password protected?

I ask because I've had it up for a few months now without an issue, but last couple days traffic took a serious drop.... might just be random algorithm fluctuation...
#crawl #google #linked #password #pdf #protected #site
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  • Profile picture of the author Clipping Path Ai
    The answer to this question is yes if Google can crawl and index the content in the PDF correctly. Google can't crawl the entire PDF, but it can't crawl individual pages either. Google can only crawl text, and PDFs use a pretty strict algorithm to format text.

    So Google can index some PDF content, but it won't crawl all of it.

    If Google can see text within the PDF, they can index it. Google will index the content it can see, so it's possible that Google could index the metadata that comes before the PDF, but only if the page has text.

    Google can't see PDFs, but they can index them. Google can read the text within the PDF, even if they can't view that content.

    If Google can index the text, they can index the PDF. But Google won't index the entire PDF.

    PDFs, or Portable Document Format files, are a common type of file that many people use for sharing documents. They allow readers to view a document without installing special software or running specific applications. However, because PDF files are designed to be viewed on a computer screen, they often have poor accessibility for search engines.

    This means that even if you convert the PDF file to HTML -- a text file format that isn't designed for viewing on a computer screen -- search engines might not be able to index it.
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  • Profile picture of the author freeabs
    From my experiences, No, Google's web crawlers cannot crawl the content of password-protected PDFs or any other password-protected files linked from your website. Google's web crawlers can only access and index publicly accessible web content.

    If you have a password-protected PDF file on your website, it will not be indexed by Google, and the content within the PDF will not be searchable on Google's search engine. Password protection is a way to restrict access to specific files or content, and search engines like Google respect these access restrictions.

    If you want the content within a PDF to be searchable on Google, you should provide the PDF without password protection or consider creating an HTML version of the content on your website, which can be crawled and indexed by search engines.

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  • Profile picture of the author Sriram Prasad
    No, Google cannot crawl a password-protected PDF linked to your site. Password-protected PDFs are not accessible to the public, and therefore, Google's web crawlers will not be able to access them either.

    If you want to prevent Google from indexing a PDF file on your site, you can password-protect it. However, if you want Google to index your PDF file, you should not password-protect it. You can also use the robots.txt file to prevent Google from crawling specific URLs on your site, including PDF files.
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