Semantic SEO and the New Web of Senses – An Introduction

This article is retrieved and updated from a series of posts I did last year on the use of Semantics in SEO . In it I try to explain, in a simple way, how semantics applied to Web will transform businesses of all sizes.

Semantic SEO and the New Web of Senses

The Web and Semantics are two perfect partners for transforming the Internet as we know it, but there is a challenge to be met.

A semantic problem

The Web, in our days, has a serious problem. It is broken and needs to be urgently restored.

On one side we humans, using all the advantages of the Net: reading, listening, creating, sharing.

On the other side the machines, exchanging information, traffic data, trying to understand what we create, share, in the best possible way.

Two languages.

These two agents of the Modern Web do not speak the same language.

It is as if, on the human side, we only speak Portuguese and the machines only speak Cantonese.

And to achieve the maximum power of the Web we must speak the same language.

This is what the Semantic Web was designed to solve.

But what is this?

Meanings and Significants

Before anything else we need to go back to basics and define the terms that we are and will be talking about throughout this article.

Semantics¹ (from Greek σημαντικός, sēmantiká, neuter plural of sēmantikós, derived from sema, sign), is the study of meaning and focuses on the relationship between signifiers, such as words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they represent, their denotation.

These terms and meanings are not unfamiliar to anyone connected with the fields that study languages. Linguistic semantics studies the meaning used by human beings to express themselves through language.

And adapting and using terms and concepts from this branch of human knowledge we have semantics applied to programming languages, formal logic, and semiotics.

Semantics is often contrasted with syntax, in which case the former is concerned with what something means, while the latter is concerned with the formal structures or patterns of how that something is expressed (for example, the relationships between predicates and their arguments). Badly compared, it is like the web we have ontologies vocabularies and domains (related to semantics) and the code, schemas and data models that “syntactically” structure the information.

The Relationship between Semantics and the Web

The Semantic Web is nothing more than a web with all its information organized in a way that not only humans can understand it, but mainly machines can “translate” all the data (text, images, files, and the relations between them) into a language they understand.

The day the same online content can be read by both humans and computers, we will be very close to the vision of the semantic web dreamed of by Tim Berners-Lee.

On this day we will be able to use the power of machines in tasks we do manually today, collecting and processing information in a way never seen before. But how did this “new web” come about?

In the second part of this article we will talk about the history of the Semantic Web its characters and how these people’s dream will build the web of the future.

Semantic SEO is the future

O SEO became semantic when we started working with those techniques, technologies and languages that allow us to create meaning in our content. Innovations like Google‘s BERT, the use of Knowledge Graphs in search results, point us to the fact that it is no longer enough to do the work as we did before.

Relating the words we use, connecting them through their normalized meaning is a premise both for those who create Web content and for us who optimize that content. And SEO is already Semantic today!

¹ SemanticsWikipedia, the free encyclopedia. . Accessed 4 May. 2017.

Alexander Rodrigues Silva

Alexander Rodrigues Silva

Consultor SEO

Especialista SEO, consultor internacional SEO e autor do livro SEO Semântico: Fluxo de trabalho semântico. Sou um defensor da Web Semântica e Bibliotecário em formação, com mais de 20 anos de experiência no Digital. Trabalho com Search Engine Optimization desde 2009, sempre buscando alinhar a experiência do usuário a estratégias como Marketing de Conteúdo, otimizando o investimento em SEO.

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