If I have a MacBook connected to a projector, how do I use my iPad as the presenter for slide switching?
There are solutions for using Keynote here
But how do I do it just with PDF slides?
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I think you're asking about remotely controlling your iPad which is plugged in to a monitor.
The simplest solution in my opinion would be a bluetooth keyboard.
If you're trying to remote control your Macbook from the iPad you could use Astropad, teamviewer or similar application.
It might be easier just to get a presentation remote device and forego the iPad. Exactly what utility does the iPad provide in this situation that an inexpensive device can't?