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The Semantic Web, Coming To A Google Search Near You

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Posted by Dave Lauretti on March 17, 2012

Most SEOs have heard of the semantic web but a lot aren’t too sure what it is or how it affects searches, search results and the bottom line. Well read on because according to The Wall Street Journal over the next few months Google will be displaying answers to searches that are questions like “height of great pyramid”.

In this article I’ll try to explain what the semantic web is and how Google has been trying to master the domain of semantic information – that is, information that is related to each other.

What Is The Semantic Web

The semantic web, when fully realized involves working in an environment where computers or applications are able to actually understand the data you are using or looking for. In other words, if you were to use a semantic search agent to find documents or information on the web related to a search you’ve made, you’ll find information related to your search because the search agent will know or understand the semantic relationship between the data you’re searching for and other related data.

According to the W3C,

The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries.

And all this without human intervention.

Here is an example of how data could be marked up to show it’s semantic relationship to other data:

Mobile device

And so, to sum it up, with the above markup, the machine (let’s say search engine) would, based on other semantically related data determine if your search or the work you were doing was related to a Mobile device rather than mobile weapons.

WIth that kind of power the web becomes more usable, reliable and intuitive.

Google Has Been Answering Questions For Some Time Now

As of now, if you search for the temperature in Burlington, you can simply type in the words “weather in Burlington Ontario” and at the top of the search results you will see information related to the weather in Burlington or any other city you search for. You can also search the question “age of mick jagger” and Google will try to display an accurate age of the singer based on information it’s acquired from other reliable resources on the web.

Rel = Author

Here is another area related to the semantic web. In the case of adding rel=”author” (or rel=”me”) into certain HTML tags, Google can determine the relation of the resource (HTML document) with it’s author. The most common and useful way of verifying the author of a resource is by adding rel=”me” as a link attribute which links to the authors Google+ page. From there you can view author statistics of the Google+ account you are logged into and see the results.

The Take Home

If you’re an SEO or Internet Marketer, keep up with the latest search engine news so you can be aware of all the changes that will soon take place. We may not see the semantic web in search come in like a Tsunami but from the next few months and onward, you’ll see more of your questions that you’ve asked in Google’s search box being answered and as an SEO discover innovative ways to harness this technology to your benefit and that of your clients.

Stay tuned as I’ll be posting more information about this in the following months.

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