The Semantic Web: An Explanation in Plain English
The Semantic Web
The Semantic Web is a big step toward Web 3.0, where the ultimate goal is to make Web content more machine-friendly.
Most Websites are produced using HTML, which is a markup language used to make a Website “look” a certain way. The Semantic Web, on the other hand, is based on markup languages that focus on tagging the content by what it “means.”
A more “semantic” Internet will allow search engines to produce more relevant results because the searched content will be “marked up” in such a way that the engines (machines) can make more sense of it.
The Semantic Web is not AI (artificial intelligence) as some people seem to think. It is about making the content easier for machines to interpret, not about making the machines themselves smarter. Two ways in which this is accomplished is through structured data and linked data.
You can prepare your content in a way that will help search engines include it in very relevant search results. For instance, you can offer ways for your contact information, products, or reviews to show up directly in a Google or Yahoo search result by adding a few tags to your content that will transform it into what is called “structured data.”
Contact and location information, events, products, and reviews are all perfect types of structured data, and can be tagged in standard formats called “markup formats” to make it easy for search engines to recognize them as such.
Structured data has been around for some time, waiting in the wings for the search engines to take it seriously. In 2009, Google introduced “Rich Snippets”, a feature that recognizes markup formats and displays the content in your search listing accordingly.
Google is supporting the two most standard markup formats: “Microformats” and “RDFa.” Both of these standard formats are very straightforward. Anyone with experience building a Website or using a CMS like WordPress can easily use them to mark up their existing Web content as structured data.Continued on the next page