Learn how to set up your Flipbooks to optimize the way they rank in search results.
Search Engine Optimization for Flipbooks
SEO for Flipbooks can be a little tricky. Although Flipbooks have their own SEO settings, using these settings usually won't give you the best results. In this article we'll explain why, and show you the key best practices we've learned for optimizing Flipbooks content for search.
Best Practice 1: Serve Flipbooks as Hub Items
We created Flipbooks before Uberflip Hubs came along, so they were designed to serve your PDF content directly. This meant that, if a Flipbook showed up on Google, clicking on it would simply open that content in the Flipbook viewer right away.
That was fine at the time, but now there is a better way: serve Flipbooks through your Hub, by automatically embedding them in Hub Items. Doing this will allow you to better leverage the often high-value content that your Flipbooks represent.
There are a few benefits to embedding Flipbooks in Hub Items, rather than making them directly accessible. You can:
- Gate Flipbooks with Form CTAs: When you embed a Flipbook in an Item, you can place a Form CTA on the Flipbook that visitors must interact with before they can access the content. This allows you to leverage your high-value Flipbook content to help generate leads.
- Recommend related content: When you make Flipbook content part of your Hub, you can use Content Recommendations to recommend other content that visitors might be interested in. This keeps visitors interacting with your content for longer, raising their engagement.
- Improve SEO: There are far more SEO options available to you through your Hub than with Flipbooks alone, so Flipbooks embedded in Hub Items can potentially rank much better.
- Add Flipbook Streams to your Hub, one for each Flipbook Folder you have. Each Flipbook Stream you add will automatically create individual Items for every Flipbook in the specified Folder.
Once these Items have been created, you can flesh them out with blog content for SEO (see below) and add Form CTA gates, enable Content Recommendations, and so on. When a Flipbook Item is ready, you can publish it like any other Item in your Hub, and add it to your Marketing and Sales Streams.
Best Practice 2: Block Flipbook Indexing
After you've set up your Flipbooks to be served as Hub Items, you have to make sure this is the only way to access them. To do that, you need to change your Flipbook SEO settings to block indexing of the direct Flipbook URL.
Flipbooks have their own SEO settings, separate from those in your Hub. One of these settings is Block search engines from indexing my content, which is turned off by default. As a result, search engines can index the direct URL for Flipbooks, and the direct version of a Flipbook can appear in search results alongside the Hub Item version. This means that, if the Hub Item version is gated with a CTA, visitors could simply bypass the CTA by going to the direct version instead. For this reason, you should make sure to turn on this setting so that the direct version is not indexed.
Another reason to block indexing of Flipbooks is that it's unreliable: Flipbooks have a separate URL for every page in the Flipbook, and Google can choose to index the URL for whichever page it deems most relevant. When this happens, clicking on the Flipbook in search results will take visitors to somewhere in the middle of the Flipbook, not the first page (cover) — not an ideal content experience.
- Open your Flipbook SEO settings by going to Flipbooks > select a Folder > Edit > Basics > Search Engine Optimization. Make sure that the setting Block search engines from indexing my content is checked (remember to click the Save button to apply the change):
This a Folder-specific setting, so you will need to change it separately for every Flipbooks Folder you have. Also, making this change will override any other SEO settings you might have previously configured here (e.g. keywords), so you don't need to worry about changing them.
Best Practice 3: Write search-optimized content for your Flipbook Hub Items
Now that you are serving up your Flipbooks through Hub Items, you need to work on the Item content to optimize it for search engines. That means writing engaging content for the Item itself, as well as applying SEO best practices.
When you create a Flipbook Stream, every Item in that Stream is basically a blank blog post with an embedded Flipbook. Search engines can't see the contents of the Flipbook, so unless you add some content in the blog post itself, the Item will just look like an empty page from Google's perspective. If you want the Hub Items containing your Flipbooks to rank well, you'll need to add some search-optimized content.
- Treat your Flipbook Items like you would any other blog post: create quality content for them that can stand on its own.
Google needs to consider the content of these Items good enough to rank all by itself, as if the Flipbook wasn't there. At minimum, it needs to be long enough so that it's clearly real content (rather than just a bunch of keywords). As a general rule, we recommend aiming for no less than five paragraphs. Use the opportunity to write content that gets the reader excited about reading your Flipbook — and therefore more likely to submit your Form CTA, if the Flipbook is gated.
You should also ensure that this content is optimized for search engines. Remember to apply the usual SEO best practices: identify the keywords you want to target and include them in your body text and headings; add meta descriptions, etc. Don't forget to leverage Uberflip's built-in SEO functionality.