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Semantics and SEO For Successful SEM

Oct 19, 2007
Semantics is not something new to the internet or websites. Semantics have been around since the ancient ages and we use them almost everyday in some situation or the other, vocally or in writing. Effective communication today consists of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure etc. But here is the surprising part: there are different sets of semantics being used around the world.

In English, you will not find the use of or as they are not English semantics. These differences can create problems in delivering effective communication through a semantic web.

HTML stands for HyperText Markup Language and it is like the universal web language. HTML is an easy to use and flexible code/language where you can integrate text and graphics together to create a scalable website. But HTML has one major drawback. Although it can define what content to place where on a web site page, it can not really discern the relationship between the content and its use for providing valuable results for various user queries. This is exactly the reason why SEM exist.

For example: There is a HTML page of product listings. The HTML code will define this as but it will not be able to identify item #2342 as a lip moisturizer that costs $3.99. This is the limitation of HTML and it will only be able to identify a text block that describes the lip moisturizer and it should appear right next to the image of the product.

SEM on the other hand use proper semantics to identify the relationship between various chunks of text on websites. The semantics help the visitors to identify the relationship between the lip moisturizer and its image.

There are two objectives that can be accomplished by web site owners by using different semantic standards. Firstly, the semantic standards will enable different web site designers to describe web site content accurately to SEs and secondly the semantics will facilitate a clearer mode of communication between SE spiders and the web site. As a result, your website will get targeted traffic.

As you have learnt that there are certain limitations of HTML and hence to fight these limitations, different programming languages have been developed. Some of the programming languages include RDF or Resource Description Framework, OWL or Ontology Web Language and XML or eXtensible Markup Language. These programming languages have increased the usefulness multifold for the web.

If you use only HTML then it will not be possible for the search engine to produce useful links for keywords like graphic designers in Florida. The SERPs will display numerous graphic designer sites from all over the world, out of which some will be situated in Florida. It is not that this specific information is not available; the fact of the matter is that it is contained within web pages of different sites, all of which are indecipherable to web spiders.

W3C and Semantics
The W3C or the World Wide Web Consortiums primary objective is to standardize, and improve www. It is a daunting task and will also entail the standardization of different development tools, programming languages, as well as browser specs.

Among many challenges, one of the important is the standardization of the semantic web technology, which is under construction. One of the problems is that there is nothing as universal semantics. The semantics for English will not go with the French semantics. The writing styles like a research article with footnotes and bibliography is different from a blog and hence will employ different types of semantics. This makes W3C standardization of semantics virtually impossible.

Semantics and SEO
The main objective of creating semantic standards is for making the websites easily viewable or readable on different machines or browsers. Standardization of semantics will allow the SEs to spider the content and index it based on specifics. A good SEO will be able to do this during site optimization and you can very well imagine the kind of positive results that will arise out of optimization of semantics.

The future will see search engine users being able to access local events, news, local sales, and compile content which is similar from multiple sources access the data within a user-defined context.

The standardization of semantics is still in its early phases and we will have to wait some more before we get to benefit from the entire process.
About the Author
Moe Tamani is a Marketing expert with a leading SEO company specializing in search engine optimization.
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