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Improve your SEO for white papers

Quick Tip: Name your white papers right

This tip applies to everyone: writers, marketers, agencies, and designers.

You know how most organizations have some system for naming files?

And those names go something like this:


And those filenames end up on your white papers when they’re published?

Or maybe somebody along the way renames each white paper to match your corporate standard:


Well, with nondescript filenames like that, you’re shooting yourself in the foot, SEO-wise.

Because it turns out Google and other search engine spiders don’t like those names any more than people do.

Search engines, like humans, prefer filenames they can actually understand.

Ideally, your filename is based on the white paper’s topic, such as:




You don’t have to use obscure abbreviations or the notorious FINAL-FINAL label.

Give your white papers a readable filename, and your SEO for that piece will soar.

How do I know about this?

When I was doing some white papers for 3M, the head of their content efforts told me an intriguing story.

As a test, they changed the filenames on some of their content to more descriptive names that actually made sense.

And downloads shot through the roof from that one change. Their re-named content clearly started generating more traffic from search engines.

(Of course, that only works if the search engines can access your white papers since they’re not gated. But that’s another story you can read about here.)

Make your white paper filenames more reader-friendly, and you’ll help get more eyes on the white paper you’ve created.


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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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