Semantic Web

Semantic Web means XML-tagging content by type, uniformly, using the terms that people actually use to search for that content. One industry well suited to Semantic Web is pharmaceuticals.

Ideally, if you search for “Allegra interaction,” pharmaceutical-information sites will display a heading, “Allegra Interactions” and “Fexofenadine Interactions” because XML tags would equate Allegra with Fexofenadine, and “know” what you meant by the word “interaction.” The landing sites should list all the medications that may interact with Fexofenadine. That means that the pharmaceutical-information sites are already tagged appropriately to respond to the search term.

The landing sites should also display links to articles with titles and subjects XML-tagged with Fexofenadine interactions. And that brings to another use for Semantic Web/XML Web.

Another area suited to Semantic Web is article/author search: medical, journalistic, academic, scientific, online magazine pieces, industry papers and articles, any published writing with a title, subject, and author. The obvious SEO and common-sense XML tags include author, title, date, subject, and keywords. Articles and papers with section or paragraph headings would also include subheading tags for better search-result accuracy. Semantic SEO means smart results focused on what you meant, beyond the generic data entered.

Even without Semantic Web, when you search on Google using a text string such as “Abstract Objects, Ideal Forms” naturally Google knows to return the popular philosophy book of that title, written by me (Abstract Objects, Ideal Forms, and Works of Art), in the page 1, number 1 spot (I encourage you to try the search, follow the link to the book listing on Amazon, and buy a copy).

But if you enter the same title, but this time add my name as author, “Abstract Objects, Ideal Forms, by Rose-Coutre,” it actually returns lower than the number 1 spot. That is because the concept of Semantic Web is not yet a reality. The word “by” and the name “Rose-Coutre” is searched like any other search term, random and without context. “By” gets just as much relevance as the title of the book. In Semantic Web, there is context and parts of speech are understood. A book title followed by the term “by” signals a specific context, a semantical signal that an author’s name will follow the word “by,” because the landing page would have the semantics built in with XML Author tags. The word “by” should be a signal, the word “Rose-Coutre” should be compared against terms specifically in XML tags labeled “Author.” That’s Semantic Web, Smart Web, XML-Web, and focused SEO.

The difference is that searching on the Web is not merely relevance based on search-engine algorithms, it is more complex relevance based on categories such as standardized industry categories, extracting concepts, sentiments, meaning of words defined in tags based on how people think, that is, semantics. This brings SEO and the Web in general from “dumb data” to “smart content.”

To sum up, Semantic markup is richly tagged data applied to well-structured XML, so when you search for “Allegra Interaction,” the Web knows what you want to see, and when you search for “Abstract Objects, Ideal Forms,” the Web knows you are looking for my book. This is another manifestation of the growing trend towards “Voice of the Customer” in software development in general. But that’s another entry.

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