• Lawrence Cummins

Web 3.0 Semantic Web

Updated: Jan 4

BLGI Chronicle’s


From its inception in the early 1990s to the foreseeable future, the World Wide Web is a developing phenomenon, continually evolving in response to new technologies and users' changing expectations. Today's Web is a very different animal to the version that gained widespread acceptance in the mid-1990s.

Likewise, it seems that the Web, as we now know, it will be transformed into something even more sophisticated as experts begin to discuss the advent of Web 3.0.

Web 2.0 is characterized mainly by users' ability to share information quickly with others, which has developed into the phenomenon that we call social media. From Twitter to Facebook to YouTube and all sorts of communities, Web 2.0 is all about sharing and seeing.

Web 1.0, information was put up on a website, which was, at best, a way of sharing it privately through e-mails. There was little to no communication, and if you wanted information, you had to go to the source for the info.

A precise definition of Web 3.0 is difficult to pin down. Still, most descriptions agree that a fundamental characteristic is the ability to make connections and infer meaning. Necessarily, the Web will become more 'intelligent' and lead to the coining of expressions such as the semantic Web, or the intelligent Web, about Web 3.0.

Most references to Web 3.0 characterize it concerning its forerunners. The inaugural Web, sometimes referred to as Web 1.0, was the Web version between 1991 and 2003. mostly a 'read-only' Web, somewhere we could go to access information on a kind of 'look but don't touch' basis.

From 2004 onward came the evolution of the 'read-write' Web, or Web 2.0, which, by contrast to its predecessor's static nature, was all about interaction and collaboration. In a wave of development characterized by wikis, blogs, and social media, users controlled the Web's content rather than merely observing it.

Therefore, the logical progression of this should be the 'read-write-execute' Web, a version of the Web in which users can create and execute their tools and software to manipulate and extract information, rather than using other people's software and websites.

One aspect of Web 3.0, the use of the term, seems at present to focus on the concept of enhancing the 'intelligence' of the underlying architecture of the Internet.

The idea that information will be organized and identified in a way makes searches more effective because the platform 'understands' and makes connections between pieces of data.

Background – Web 3.0

Web 3.0 is being referred s as the semantic Web, semantic meaning data-driven. The data will come from the user, and the Web will radically adjust to meet the user's needs. For example, if you do much searching for 'Blockchain blogs,' you'll receive more advertisements or information about Blockchain.

When you search for other things, such as 'computers,' the Web will keep in mind that you often search for Blockchain and may pull up search queries that combine 'Blockchain' and 'computers.

This kind of nomenclature is especially prevalent in the IT world, where software tools are continually upgraded and are labeled, e.g., 'v. (=version) 1.2.1', or feature numbers as part of their names, like, for instance, Adobe Reader 9 or Internet Explorer 8.

What does Web 3.0 mean for search?

The signs of fundamental change are all around us. Digital assistants reside within our living rooms, we consume Internet-based services everywhere, and we are creating data every second of the day.

A sense pervades of being always connected through devices that communicate with each other. Therefore, the experience of using the Internet is markedly different from what it was ten years ago.

The phrase "Web 3.0" was first coined back in 2006. Some industry insiders are viewed back then as an "unobtainable dream, "Web 3.0 has remained elusive.

However, as technology catches up and the tech giants figure out ways to make sense of the reams of unstructured data we create every second, the dream seems more obtainable than ever. Many argue it is already a reality.

What is Web 3.0

Web 3.0 ushers in an entirely new way of creating websites, interacting with them, and utilizing the data that these interactions generate. "Web 3.0 will be a complete reinvention of the Web, something that Web 2.0 was not.

Web 2.0 was simply an evolution from the original Web." Web 1.0 was mainly a repository of information that people could read passively without being able to shape it or add their own.

The move to Web 2.0 was given concrete shape in everyday aspects of online life, such as submitting product reviews on Amazon or launching a personal blog. People were to become very active participants online, whether on social media or reputable news sites.

Web functions are necessary if we look at the raw statistics. Global Internet traffic has passed one zettabyte (that's one trillion gigabytes); over 4 billion people will have Internet access by 2020; over 60,000 searches are performed on Google every second.

All that data creates possibilities, albeit only if we are equipped to harness them. We imagine hyper-personalized, fluid, targeted online interactions between brands and consumers, but bringing this idea to fruition is a complex logistical task.

By converting unstructured data into structured data (simple updates like Schema.org have helped with this) and ensuring all databases communicate in the same language, lots of new opportunities arise.

Web 3.0 will allow us to make sense of all the data that digital devices create. The Web that thinks for itself, rather than just following commands. Build on a decentralized, secure platform that allows much more privacy for consumers than they currently have.

It is easy to spot some threads within this narrative: the use of artificial intelligence, the potential for a blockchain-based solution for storing and sharing data, and the semantic Web evolution to provide personalized experiences. We can summarize our definition by identifying five key factors that set Web 3.0 apart from its earlier incarnation:

Artificial intelligence

AI will be used in every walk of life to carry out computational tasks humans are incapable of completing. It will also make decisions for us, whether in driverless cars or our digital marketing strategies.

Virtual & augmented reality

Brands tap into the possibilities these technologies bring, providing an entirely new way of connecting that goes far beyond what a static screen can produce.

The Semantic Web

By finally understanding the data each individual creates, technology companies can gain insight into context—a significant push for Google for some time, particularly with the respective launches of Hummingbird and RankBrain. The aim is to go beyond the dictionary definition of each word and comprehend what consumers are using phrases to mean at that particular moment.

Internet of things

A real defining feature of Web 3.0 is the proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) 'smart' devices. Examples such as Amazon Echo are well-known, but there are plans to add Internet connectivity to every aspect of our lives.

Seamless connectivity

Until now, data stored in various formats, and communication between data sets can be challenging. Web 3.0 comes into its own when data exchanges are seamless and ubiquitous.

Internet-connected devices are omnipresent, from the home to the workplace and everywhere in between, but those devices need to communicate with each other. The digital assistant in your car can ask the fridge if you're out of milk so, order some from Amazon.

How will Web 3.0 change online interactions

The way we source information and find products is still far from frictionless. For example, consider the planning of an upcoming holiday. We could buy a package deal, which would remove many administrative tasks, but it would be far from a tailored product.

Most of us will search for deals on flights, research hotels, read travel guides, and talk to people who have been to the destination before via social media.

That is a vast improvement on the holiday-booking process pre-Internet. However, Web 3.0 will take this much further.

Instead of conducting multiple searches in different places, one prompt would be sufficient to pull together all the relevant information. To take our holiday example, we could say to an Internet-connected device, "I'm looking for a holiday in Italy later this year with the family, what are my options.

The digital assistant will then dip into its vast interconnected database to retrieve relevant information and organize it based on your query and provide the best options in one interface.

Everything from flights to meals to cultural attractions will be pulled together into a truly personalized list of recommendations.

How will Web 3.0 affect search marketing?

The example above provides a clear indication of how much things are changing. Optimizing title tags for a higher click-through rate won't cut when an AI-powered digital assistant bypasses these signals to identify the right content to answer a query.

Search marketers' focus should shift towards understanding their user base's different preferences and creating multimedia content that responds to this. As people become more comfortable using voice-based digital assistants, we can expect search trends to move away from the likes of Italy holidays 2017 and towards more specific, long-tail queries.

Searcher behaviors are deeply entrenched and slow to change, but they do change. Recent research from Google showed the drop-off in "near me" queries as users come to expect that results will be local, without adding a geo-modifier.

Microsoft's speech recognition system has reached a new accuracy milestone; we get a sense that these long-heralded changes are finally coming to pass. Voice search is on the rise; mobile device usage shows no use of relenting, and search engines are using this data to create better interactions.

The first step is to ensure that all content is labeled for search engines. Microdata can achieve this, and Schema.org mark-up remains just as vital as it has been for the past few years.

When we create new content, the core objective should be to facilitate its serving to users, no matter where they are or which device they are using. Keyword targeting still matters, but we need to maintain a more nuanced idea of our consumers' means.

Google's Quick Answers initiative is a particularly telling development in this sense. It seems a relatively innocuous and helpful change, but it tells us a lot more at a deeper level. We are moving away from screen-based interfaces that provide many choices; consumers want the right answer to their query.

Performance measurement will continue to change. The idea of tracking keyword-level ranking positions remains attractive. Still, its use as an accurate barometer of how a site is performing has waned significantly.

SEO goals must achieve business objectives, which can only be a healthy development. Web 3.0: What do search marketers need to know? Web 3.0 will change how people search, search engines process their queries, and how results are displayed. These changes have been in process for years now, but they are starting to have tangible impacts on finding information online.

Web 3.0 will also bring with it a new way of creating digital assets. The old ideas of creating a static website will be replaced by hyper-personalized experiences that vary in their messaging and media formats.

AI-powered digital assistants are starting to usher in new behaviors. Search marketers should create the right digital assets for their consumers and ensure that any search engine can locate and serve this content as seamlessly as possible.

What is the Semantic Web

The Semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web through the World Wide Web Consortium standards. The standards promote common data formats and exchange protocols on the Web, most fundamentally the Resource Description Framework.

The Internet we know and use has gone through two significant shifts or development phases, i.e., Web 1.0 and Web 2.0. Web 1.0 was where internet standards formalized, and the Internet was a set of static websites and pages. Web 2.0 focused on social networking, collaboration, social bookmarking, and media sharing.

We saw the emergence of social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Myspace. Everything on the Web became about interacting with people. From sharing new's articles to a picture of what you ate for breakfast became something you could share on the Internet.

Web 3.0 or the semantic Web will be the emergence of an intelligent internet. Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, thought up a semantic Web idea. He had said that one of the major obstacles so far has been that most information on the Web is designed for human consumption.

For the shift to occur, the Web needs to be readable by humans and machines. It would allow the Web to be more intelligent. Many companies such as Best Buy, Google, Facebook, Chevron, GE, the US Department of Defense, NASA, and others— now rely on Semantic Web technologies to run critical daily operations.

Many of the Semantic Web standards were drafted in 2001, but they have now been formalized and ratified. Technologies and standards that exist in this space, we have seen three that have stood out:

RDF (Resource Description Framework): The data modeling language for the Semantic Web. All Semantic Web information is stored and represented in the RDF. It provides machine-understandable semantics for metadata.

SPARQL (SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language): The definitive query language of the Semantic Web.

OWL (Web Ontology Language): The schema language, or knowledge representation (KR) language, of the Semantic Web.

Why is knowing about the Semantic Web important

The Semantic Web and its technologies have not become mainstream, (relatively) few companies have started using or even realizing it's potential. While it is significant in academia, there have been many big companies using this technology. Check out Google's Knowledge Graph or even Facebook's' Social Graph. Both of these are based on semantic technology. For now, there is no buzz going on in the industry nor the media about said technologies.

Source: Lawrence Cummins, Clark Boyd, and Sheldon Fernandes

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