Usability-first Search Engine Optimization Comin’ on more than <strong>

My first reaction last week to was pure excitement. “Finally. the semantic Web is going to make a real difference in the world of search” I gushed.

I’ve been spicing up my markup with Microformats for years. Any chance I have to add more semantics to a webpage, I’ll take.

A couple of months ago—impatient with the wait for the semantic Web to hit search—I started playing around with SPARQL to query RDFa datasets from DBpedia. I’ve known for several years that the semantic Web is the future, and I’m beyond psyched that I can start incorporating more semantics–real semantics, on a macro level–into projects I work on. Woohoo!

I just have to forget about RDFa if I want the VIP treatment from Google,Bing and Yahoo.

But wait.

What about my beloved DBpedia; the jewel of semantic data knowledge bases? How are they going to deal with this? According to Christian Bizer, DBpedia might begin publishing Microdata with it’s next release, mapping DBpedia’s ontology to’s with OWL.

What about Wikipedia itself though. How do they feel about these changes? It certainly affects their vast implementation of structured data.

And why the proprietary format again?

Granted, the W3C moves slowly

Yes, we’re all aware of the W3C’s painfully… slow… process of going from drafts to recommendations and standards, but to be fair, certain browser vendors (do I need to name names) are even slower to adopt them. It’s difficult to observe the adoption of Web standards in wild if a huge chunk of the market doesn’t even implement the specifications.

Internet Explorer. Okay, there, I said it. Like I had to. How ironic is it that that they’re 1 of the W3C’s 324 members? Discuss amongst yourselves ;)

But seriously.

Stepping away from my enthusiasm for search 3.0—at least for a minute or two—because something deserves attention:

As great as it is that structured data will really get some recognition in the world of search, wouldn’t it have been a good idea in the spirit of the open Web to get some public opinion on what to include/not include in

Why Google wants control of the semantic Web

My observation is that with Google’s attempted (and many failed) advances into the world of social media, now is a good time to have some control in the semantic web. The social space opens up a whole new application for semantic technologies. Their also-ran +1 button will probably benefit from a ubiquitous and help in their competition with Facebook.

The news is sudden, and though I’ll gladly play along with my new Web 3.0 toys, Im really hoping that Mr BYG (Bing, Yahoo & Google—you heard it here first folks ;) ) will listen to the dev community, and take public opinion seriously.

Remember Web 2.0—2 way conversations—before quickly moving on to Web 3.0

About matt

Matthew Edward is the founder of Springboard SEO, a usability-first search engine optimization company in Montreal.

  • Matt,

    You may want to read the discusion thread over at W3C from SEMTECH – and pay attention to the comments from Kavi Goel, Google’s product manager responsible for Schema.

  • Thanks Alan,

    Here are some interesting quotes from that discussion group (June 8th’s SemTech 2011 BOF on structured data in HTML and vocabularies)

    Kavi Goel: “Within google we have people on all sides of
    these issues. I can say on behalf of Search Quality, that we did not
    and do not have a horse in this game. It is only a question of what
    will drive adoption the best. We may have made the wrong decision.”

    Kavi Goel: “Could we support more than one format, even if we’re documenting just one? That could be a reasonable option.”

    Kavi Goel: “The comment about “be big to be part of this”,
    we that reaching consensus is generally very slow. We started with
    orgs that had deep vested interests, so we could reach consensus and get
    something out there.”

    Tantek Çelik (via IRC or Skype–not sure which): “please someone call bullsh*t on Kavi’s consensus among companies line”

    Manu Sporny: “I agree – it may be fine for a first cut, but then you let the community review and give feedback (at the very least)”

    Tantek Çelik: “manu – I disagree”

    Tantek Çelik: “it’s not even a good first cut”

    Tantek Çelik: “no documentation of research”

    Kevin Marks: “It’s easy if you define consensus as after excluding 90% of the people who care about it.”

    Kavi Goel: “That’s a valid criticism.”

    As Tantek pointed out, to Kavi Goel, “You’ve gotten a community leader of (myself) and chair of W3C RDFa WG to *agree* “

    Funny how people come together when big monsters threaten both of them!

  • Yeah I read the whole thread  with fascination early this morning.  Nothing really surprised me in any of it.  The hostility, the panic, the arrogance of the “open web” people, the “matter of factness” from Kavi in that his people tried to work it out with them, but couldn’t just sit around anymore…

    And ultimately, the fact that everyone recognizes, like it or not, that it’s happening. 

    So now we’ll see what the buy-in evolves into.  

  • Whatever happens politics-wise or syntactically, I’m stoked.