Ok, first there are going to be a bunch of you scratching your heads saying “What is Semantic Web?“ – so let’s clear that up first:
The Definition of the Semantic Web from Wikipedia states:
“The Semantic Web is an evolving development of the World Wide Web in which the meaning (semantics) of information on the web is defined, making it possible for machines to process it. It derives from the World Wide Web Consortium as a universal medium for data, information, and knowledge exchange”
So in laymen’s terms – the Semantic Web Technologies are techniques you can implement into your sites to help define the context and meaning of the content you are presenting.
Some reasons you should be using Semantic Web Technologies:
There are many reasons you should be using Semantic Web techniques when building sites and content, not the least of which is that the more sites adhere to these standards, the more accurate and credible search results will become
- Categorization – Tag and Classify your content according to standard and custom formats, indicating groupings and searchable tags.
- Indicate Relationships – Indicate parent / child relationships, dependencies and hierarchies of content.
- Sharing / Integrating Content – Using items such as Calendar and Contact formats, visitors can instantly download your contact information or add a calendar event to their calendars.
- Protecting Content – Using Meta data you can indicate content ownership, publisher and publish dates or expiry as well as indicate copyright or sharing allowances.
- Duplication prevention – Tagging like content differently for different categories or even indicating the original source of a piece of content using the canonical meta tag.
Do the search engines take Semantic Web into account when indexing your content?
This has been a hotly debated topic for a long time and you’ll hear opinions for and against both extremes. Being realists here at gShift, we are very confident that semantic techniques in your content will definitely help your ability to rank for your content.
On a really high level, by creating your content semantically – it just simply allows your content to more quickly and accurately be categorized by the search engines. Quicker and more accurate categorization should also result in your content being indexed as a more relevant result for the category or tag.
Another simple example would be indicating the geolocation of your content (using meta or Microformats) or adding a standard formatted address allows a visitor (and the search engines) to very quickly categorize you by location. In the case of Local search, this will very likely assist you in ranking higher than a similar site not using geolocation tags etc.
Furthermore, even if using Semantic techniques doesn’t give you a big boost in the search engines currently – it will definitely help your visitors now. We are also confident that future iterations of search algorithms will be putting more weight on semantic techniques.
Ok, so what are these Semantic Web Technologies?
There are a number of Semantic Web Technologies (or techniques) that you can implement right now, some have been around for a long time and some are brand-new (relatively speaking) – but they all can be highly effective.
Core Semantic Web Technologies include:
- Meta Data (old school but still works amazingly if you use the appropriate tags – especially Dublin Core)
- and of course HTML 5
We will produce a future post that clarifies these technologies and how to use them but for now, here are some links: