Schema.org vocabulary and markup language allows to properly annotate our content and thus be ready for this Age of Big Data and AI assistants.
Let’s start from the very beginning ...
A brief history of the Web
Web 1.0: The Web as a source of information (1993+)
Back in 1993 the Web was intended as a system of interlinked documents accessed via the Internet, a huge network of computers. It became the largest source of information ever. And that was the initial concept of the Web: a big source of information.
Web 2.0: The Read-Write Web (2002+)
But then, authors started to use Ajax and people started to share photos and videos, interact in social networks, publish content in blogs and contribute to wikis. The Web is not a read-only place anymore but a “living” thing that is contributed to and modified by its visitors.
Web 3.0: The Semantic Web (2011+)
We are building towards the Web as a place of information not just for humans but for robots and crawlers alike. This way, they can make use of all this information to provide improved analysis and better quality results for requests.
This is done through marking up meaningful pieces of content in a standardized way.
The Semantic way
The path towards a semantic web started with the technical means available. In our case, this was HTML. This markup language was created to describe the structure of the information (syntax) on a page and not the meaning (semantics) of contents.
Then HTML5 introduced new semantic elements to better describe content: header, article, aside, section, nav, footer, … This allowed greater expressiveness for page authors and opened new possibilities for data processed services:
- Browser plugins can more easily pull out the text of the article for a cleaner reading experience.
- Search engines can give more weight to article content rather than the advertising in the sidebar.
- Screen reader software can use the structural elements such as nav to make textual content more accessible to people with disabilities.
While these new elements provide extremely useful extra information about the sections of content, they do not really describe what the HTML document is about.
The answer to this need is really what the Semantic Web is all about: to give a better understanding of the meaning behind information to computers, through enhanced markup.