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Do todays web pages use Web Semantics?

what is the potential in web semantics (i mean potential to enhance web)?

web semantics is all about SEO?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted
  • SEO is garbage.

  • Web semantics is about giving meaning to content by marking it up with the right tags. If something is a heading, mark it up as a heading.

  • Using semantic markup with meaningful content will get you 99% of the way to good search engine rankings, because the search engines will be able to better understand your content through your markup.

  • All of today's good webpages use semantic markup.

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I don't know that SEO is "garbage" - you need to have a reasonable understanding of how search engines work if you want to build a site that they'll be able to easily find and rank wel. Of course, companies which purport to "specialise" in SEO are typically selling snake oil. –  Dean Harding Feb 4 '11 at 10:37
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+1: SEO is garbage. In order to make money from search, the search services have to keep their algorithms completely secret. Otherwise, we would "game" the search results to get good position without paying for our positions. –  S.Lott Feb 4 '11 at 12:05

Do todays web pages use Web Semantics?

Not really. There is a progressive thinking to promote semantic format but it has failed to attract the masses. The reason for that is there are almost no tangible advantages for the average Joe. Semantic markup is basically a preparation stage for the time when the web gets smarter and multiple services arise which will take advantage of it.

what is the potential in web semantics (i mean potential to enhance web)?

The potential lies with the possibility of discovering specific content in the mass of a page. For instance one could extract "visit cards" with the contact data of the page author. Or some service may discover products and prices. It may be of a great advantage, but we're not there yet. And I must mention, even unstructured site scraping annoys many web masters these days who would do everything in their power to build a high barrier between their content and automated bots, so that the page can only be understood by a human when it is rendered in the browser.

One real advantage of today however is screen readers for disabled people. If you for instance format your menus as html lists, these devices will have it easier to read menu items in a sequence. Besides that I'm not sure if any other tangible advantages exist today.

web semantics is all about SEO?

No they are largely different. Search engines are mainly concerned with the raw content inside your markup (whether its semantic or not) and the reputation of your pages (inbound links).

However there is potential that some narrow searches (pictures, contact data etc.) may be better fulfilled with the semantic data present. However, again, people tend to abuse their instruments which is why search engines will likely ignore semantic data just as they ignore page metadata (they had a bad time in the beginning when everybody was abusing meta to trick search engines).

Bottom line is, this is a difficult matter which is not as simple as good/bad or right/wrong. There are many issues to be resolved.

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